Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers


November 11, 2021

Is an expensive university education the best assurance of success? Not necessarily! Y4Y has responded to your feedback that pathways to every kind of career success should be offered to students. The updated Career Pathways for Students course offers Basic, Advanced and Leadership certificates of completion. More important, it shows you ways to give even very young students the prompts they’ll need to draft their own successful futures. Whether students decide to pursue a trade, the military, workforce advancement or, yes, college, Y4Y’s new Career Pathways for Students course will get you thinking about the many chapters of preparing students for the future. You can help students at every grade level learn about themselves and careers to consider, and get beyond that creaky old embossed leather binding!

Table of Contents

If you’re browsing books, you’re not going to stand in the library and read entire volumes, right? Once you’ve gotten past the cover, the first thing you might do is to flip to the table of contents. The Career Pathways Approach at a Glance tool gives a nice summary of what to expect in this course, and guides you to the chapters that apply to your program. Some you can implement right away, while others may take long-range planning. Want more detail? The Career Pathways for Students Planning Checklist fleshes those steps out even more.

What Others Are Saying

Do you flip to the back cover to see what others are saying about that book in your hand? Career readiness takes many voices, so you’ll want to download the College and Career Pathways Questionnaire for Students and Families to pinpoint your program’s specific needs. Spark families’ interest in joining you on this exploration of career pathways by using Y4Y’s Tips for Families: Preparing Children and Youth for Success. You have other community partners’ voices to consider on this journey. Check out the Guiding Questions for Partnerships in College and Career Awareness, Exploration and Preparation tool. Oh, and don’t forget the students themselves! This course is chock-full of student voice tools like the Elementary Student Interest Inventory, Work Personality Evaluation and a tool for real talk with youth.

Illustrations Are Your Go-To

The child lives on in every one of us, and jumping to those illustration pages of any book is worth a thousand words and more! A comprehensive tool for your approach to including career pathway activities in your program can be found in Y4Y’s Career Pathways Activities Design Guidebook. While considering what’s age appropriate, begin by planning programming that fits in the categories of

  • Awareness activities — to provide opportunities for students to learn about themselves, real-world job expectations, and education and career options.
  • Exploration activities — to provide opportunities for students to actively explore education and career options to see what sparks their interest, and which options seem like a good fit.
  • Preparation activities — to provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, skills and plans that will help them move toward their career goals.

So, as one illustration, even at the elementary level, students can be learning about specific jobs through guest speakers (awareness), taking a hands-on field trip to interact with professionals in action (exploration), and doing a problem-based learning project together to build their collaborative and communicating skills (preparation).

The End

Are you someone who reads the last page of a book first? Do you jump to it once you’ve gotten to know the characters? Or do you savor the ending only after you’ve read every word that comes before it? Whatever “cover” your students choose — a trade, the military, workforce advancement or college — your professional development around career pathways ends when you’re ready to train others! This course offers customizable staff trainings in building a culture and climate to support this work, planning age-appropriate activities and using self-assessment tools with students. Just remember: Trainings will be all the more rich and savory once you’ve completed the course!


The U.S. is course-correcting for decades of believing that everyone should be driven toward higher education. Trade professionals are better compensated than ever. Slowly, more resources are being provided to men and women transitioning from the military to civilian careers that their experience prepared them for. And companies everywhere are clamoring to hire young, trainable people who demonstrate 21st century skills, whether or not their education or training went beyond high school. A four-year university experience — and the expense that goes along with it — may not be the right “read” for some of your students. Armed with this new library of resources, your 21st CCLC program is the perfect place to get past those book covers and help students dive into the true substance of all genres of successful futures.