Evanston Township High School administrators updated board members Monday night on programs to help students prepare for their career choices and to support job options that don’t require a four-year degree.
A Career Pathways Program of Study Guide, prepared by the school’s college and career services office, describes 17 career clusters, from agriculture, food and natural resources through finance and hospitality and tourism to manufacturing and transportation.
Each career cluster, based on the National Career Cluster Framework, contains a career pathway guide that explains various career options, describes ETHS courses as well as extra curricular clubs and activities that might assist students to prepare for those careers and details the credentials required for different careers within the cluster.
“ETHS provides courses in every pathway, from introductory courses so students can see if they like a particular area to more advanced courses so students can go more deeply,” said Shelley Gates, chair of career and technical education department.
Ninth and tenth graders get a career assessment to help them discover what careers might suit them and the study guide can be used as a supplement for both parents and students in course selection, Gates said.
“We’re moving away from a college-only orientation,” said Gates. The school is hosting a Career Options night on Thursday designed for students interested in professional careers that don’t require a college degree.
Open to students, parents and residents aged 18-24, the session will include representatives of both Evanston hospitals, unions, banks, the Evanston fire and police departments, Oakton Community College, manufacturers, the military and the Youth Job Center.
“The Mayor’s Employer Advisory Committee is working to build a connection between Evanston employers and ETHS for students who are not going to a four-year college,” said Gates. “Local employers have career pathways starting at entry level but they struggle to find employees.”
“We’ve had ‘BA blindness,’” said Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. After spending the summer on tours of Evanston employers, "we found lots of training and support for career ladders that are not just dead-end minimum wage jobs. We’re looking this year to put graduates into that pipeline.”
“This really opened our eyes to what we can do for young people,” said Gates. We’ve worked with employers to “lower barriers to entry and provide supports, orientation and mentorships to help young people get on a career pathway,” she said.
With a $90,000 grant from the city, approved by a 5-4 vote at Monday night’s City Council meeting, the Youth Job Center will hire a career partnership manager based at the high school who will help place up to 100 students per year in career opportunities that do not require four-year degrees.
City hopes to connect more kids with careers (3/10/2019)