Through the Yuma-ABEC Middle School Career Exploration Project, all students will:
Students will be provided with opportunities to experience hands-on activities, presentations, and mentoring from experts in key occupations that lead to discovery and nurturing of career aspirations and connection of education to the real world of work.
"Providing opportunities for young students to experience hands-on, real work experiences is crucial to their future success in developing career goals. Through this exploration, students can begin to understand the importance of their education and relevance to achieving future success in the workforce. The Yuma ABEC Middle School Career Exploration Project provides a framework for engaging business partners and community leaders in meaningful collaboration with our local schools that could help improve student success in school and strengthen the pipeline of a skilled workforce for Yuma County.“
Tom Tyree, STEDY Superintendent
It is understood that career development is a lifelong process and it is imperative that students begin to understand, plan and prepare for career interests no later than the middle school years if they are to successfully enter into secondary and postsecondary education or training, and are prepared to succeed in the workforce.
Understanding that school resources are limited, and that the time businesses have to partner is valuable, ABEC committed to developing and implementing a project that excites and motivates students about their education and future world of work and is:
Business partners are eager to participate because the AMSCEP provides them a meaningful role in shaping career modules and providing classroom presentations and hands-on activities that support students in recognizing and pursuing careers that will help meet future economic and workforce demands.
The AMSCEP can provide students with 32-to-90 hours of direct career exploration activities, depending on the model implemented.
ABEC wants all Arizona high school graduates to be prepared for either postsecondary education or the workforce, and so recognizes that there must be a focus on the “forgotten middle” – those middle school years when our youth start to make informed or uninformed decisions about their futures.
The AMSCEP formally began in 2012 mainly through the support of a NAU GEARUP Grant, and has been implemented in three school districts in Maricopa County and one district in Pinal County.
The AMSCEP was designed to assist 7th and 8th graders in the transition to high school by bridging the gap between rigorous academics and its relevancy to real working environments. By creating meaningful business and education partnerships, the AMSCEP provides a framework for middle school students to experience activities, presentations and mentoring from experts in key occupations that lead to discovery and nurturing of career aspirations and connection of education to the real world of work.
The AMSCEP specifically targets schools with limited capacity to implement career exploration activities on a large scale. The AMSCEP is filling a current void of programs that address middle school career exploration as well as providing a successful framework for businesses to partner with schools.
Over six years, the AMSCEP has delivered close to 1,000 hours of direct career exploration activities, through 90 unique career modules, to over 2,400 middle school students. It is estimated that 200+ business and community partners have participated in the AMSCEP through financial and/or in-kind support, classroom presentations and field trip opportunities in a value that exceeds $250,000.
ABEC is now prepared to link hands with more counties, schools, business partners, community leaders, state and national agencies to grow and expand the AMSCEP statewide. The AMSCEP provides a model for business and education to develop sustainable partnerships through locally driven career modules that guide middle school students to discovery and nurturing of career aspirations, connects success in school to success in the workforce, and provides another link for meeting future economic and workforce demands.
According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, student engagement tends to drop the longer students are in school—in elementary school, about eight in ten students are engaged in school, that drops to six in ten in middle school. The AMSCEP provides a meaningful antidote for disengaged middle school students.
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