Mahoning County offers students digital platform to explore careers

Local News

Kids have some tough decisions to make in school. Two of the biggest are what do I want to be when I grow up and how do I get there?

There’s a new platform in the Valley to help students make those decisions.  

The new tool is called All Choices Matter. It’s a digital platform ready to help students, parents and teachers in 21 school districts. It’s one place to go to find information about careers. There are numerous videos explaining different types of jobs.

“We all bounce to get some places. Hopefully, we get to the place we love sooner rather than later. I think this is an opportunity that kids can really explore those very easily,” said Steve Pelton, advisory board chairman for All Choices Matter.

The platform features more than 120 videos about careers. A person explains what they do, why they decided to do it, even the best part of the job, plus the education required for their field. There’s also a link to all of our JobsNOW segments from 27 First News.

Mahoning County Assistant Superintendent Doug Hiscox said career exploration starts early. They begin reaching students in 7th grade.

“We think that is where exploration really starts for students to kind of think about why do I do this at school? What does this lead to?” he said.

There’s also a special section for parents so they can be involved, and teachers can check out resources, which can be used in the classroom.  It’s a collaborative effort to prepare students now for their future.

“We can help them stay motivated academically and in reality, help them for their long-term success,” Pelton said.

There are also sections to help students with character issues and the tough things they face in life.

The career exploration is a main focus, helping students find something they’re passionate about and give them the tools to be successful. Three big careers in this area have already been heavily involved – manufacturing, healthcare and the trades.

“When we start to see students get involved with apprenticeships and connecting with mentoring programs and connecting with employers, we will be able to measure success through that,” Hiscox said.

There are other phases to the project, which was put together by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center but includes schools in Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties. It was started when lawmakers required schools to have business advisory councils to help students and parents with career pathways.

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