Career Goals: Exploration and Next Steps
Laura Campbell: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Career Goals: Exploration and Next Steps workshop. To maximize your experience today, we want to walk you through your session console. At the bottom of your screen, you’re going to seven engagement tools. First, the Media Player, which you can use to watch the presenters and any videos during the session. Then the Questions for Presenters – you can use this tool to share a question or a comment during the session.
The Slides tool can be used to display the PowerPoint presentation slides on your screen. The Related Resources and Links includes a list of resources available for download, as well as helpful links. You can find your slide deck and session handouts here and on the Engagement Hub. The Presenter Bios will share a little bit more information about Kyle and myself. The Certificate of Attendance – you can use this tool to access your certificate at the end of the session. You must meet the criteria in order to earn your certificate. These engagement tools on your console are resizable and moveable. If you minimize any of these tools, you can click the icons at the bottom of your screen to make them reappear.
My name is Laura Campbell, and I’m the national senior program manager at LIFT and here with the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. I will turn it to my co-presenter, Kyle.
Kyle Lilly: Hi, everyone. My name’s Kyle Lilly, and I’m with Chicago’s program coordinator of training, and I‘m also with the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Happy to be here today.
Just wanted to start off by going into the learning objectives. In this session, we’ll dive into the process of supporting families in employment and career goals. Specifically, we’ll discuss the concept of career exploration. We’ll leverage tools and resources to help families make decisions about their career goals and pathways. We’ll also discuss ways to assess readiness to work and address barriers to employment. Lastly, introduce resources to help families build skills and make progress on their employment and career goals.
Before we dive into our focus today on career exploration, let’s take a moment to acknowledge two things. First, we’re still in the middle of a public health crisis that’s disproportionately affecting the communities that we work with. Many of the families we serve have experienced job loss, health crises, and other challenges due to the pandemic. As a result, they may be struggling more to stay on track with paying bills, buying groceries. These immediate challenges can compound greater instability, which may continue far after the pandemic passes.
Given all of this, we know family situations, their needs, and priorities have likely shifted, and employment or career exploration may not be the focus for all families right now. With some families, not ever. It’s important to recognize the unique strengths and needs among families, and respond accordingly. Shifting our focus is necessary. The skills and resources in this session are transferable and can be applied to many situations, whether that be addressing an immediate need for employment or interest in a long-term career.
Second, this session and all of our work with families should be approached from a mindset that recognizes and acknowledges each family’s unique strengths, values, and power. In our work, we can honor families by understanding and caring about what they care about, acknowledging and celebrating what they offer the world, and walking with them towards their goals. As we keep these important considerations in mind, think back to Session 1 and the strategies discussed for having relationship-based conversations. These strategies are so relevant as we support families towards their career goals. What are some ways you can use these practices with families in the specific context of their employment and career goals? What might you say to families, or what questions might you ask? You all can put your answers in the chat bar, and we’ll just read a few of them as they come in.
Something that I see in the chat bar right now: “Asking families what their hopes and dreams are related to employment, and not assuming anything without asking them.” That’s really important to do. We want to make sure that our families are the ones who are guiding their journeys for their careers and employment.
As we keep these important considerations in mind . . . Wait. Sorry. I read through that. It looks like we have a few more responses in the chat. “Celebrating small wins no matter how big or small.” That’s something that we are going to elaborate on a little bit more as we go through this presentation, but we definitely want to acknowledge – I mean, celebrate the things that our families are doing because they’re putting in a lot of hard work. It looks like another one that was put in the chat bar was that “Knowing that some families may know more about budgeting and financial literacy than we do as a staff.” That really goes back to leveraging the strengths that families have already and using that to help move them forward towards those career and employment goals.
Without further ado, I’m going to pass it off to Laura, who’s going to talk a little bit about career exploration.
Laura: Awesome. Thanks, Kyle. Some parents and caregivers are unsure of what career they want to pursue. Others are open to considering new career paths, and career exploration can be a good starting point for all of them. Career exploration is the process of learning about different careers that align with a person’s interests, work style, strengths, and ambitions. By learning about different career paths, learning about the industry, what people with careers in those fields do, what skills they bring to the table, what growth opportunities look like, and more, families can make informed decisions about what might be the best career for them and then make a plan to turn that career goal into a reality.
Let’s remember that career exploration and the employment process will look different for each family. Starting points and timelines will be unique, and that’s OK. Some career-related goals will likely even extend beyond the time period that a family is connected to Head Start. In working with families, our role is to help them identify the specific pathways to their goals by creating space and leveraging tools and resources. Leveraging partnerships with local employment agencies, career-focused organizations, and training and education programs will be important in this work, too. I will now turn it back to Kyle.
Kyle: Thank you, Laura. Before we jump into how we support families with career exploration, let’s take a step back and talk about why we’re even talking about careers instead of jobs. While a lot of people use the terms “career” and “jobs” interchangeably, they actually mean different things. I’m going to ask you, the audience, what do you think the difference between careers and jobs are? You can just put them in the chat.
Awesome. I’m starting to see a few responses flowing in here. The first one: “Careers have a more long-term focus and might be made of several different jobs.” I also see that “Careers have growth potential.” Then, “A job is a way to earn money to support your family.” Then, “Careers may include more wraparound benefits, whereas that might not always be the case with jobs.” Then, last but not least, “Jobs focus on the here and now and meeting basic needs, but careers are more long term.” Thank you all for your amazing responses.
What defines … Sorry. “Indeed” defines a career as a long-term professional journey you may determine based on your passions. It’s the path that you embark upon to fulfill your professional goals and ambitions, [Inaudible] a certain level of education or training to achieve these goals. Individuals pursuing careers often have set salaries with benefits – that’s something that came up in one of the answers, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses. They also gain non-tangible benefits, such as personal pride or work satisfaction.
A career might last your entire life. In that career, you can hold numerous jobs – which is another thing that was mentioned – under many employers in your chosen industry or industries. You can progress through those during your career. For example, a client who’s interested in a career in nursing may start by getting a nursing assistant certification, or a CNA, work in that job for some time, and then go back to school on their journey to nursing.
On the other hand, a job is work that you perform to earn money to support your basic needs. It can be either full-time or part-time and may sometimes be short term. You might earn an hourly wage or receive a set paycheck rather than a salary with benefits in a job. You might need to learn certain skills connected with that role, but not all jobs require a specialized degree or advanced training. With jobs, they don’t have to be connected, so as you can see in the graphic on the right, you can jump around from industry to industry, but you may also find that you’re not necessarily advancing in terms of pay or responsibility.
Another question I’m going to pose to you all: Why do you think that this distinction between careers and a job might be important for us to make in this conversation?
OK. One answer that I see is that we should be mindful that some families may be perfectly happy, financially and emotionally, working and a job and may not want to shift towards a career in that moment. This distinction helps us to support a family in growing where they want to grow. Again, putting that focus on what the families want at that given time. Then, connected to that, it’s important to know what the parents want to do. We don’t want to push them into a career if that’s not necessarily what they want, and if they’re happy just earning money. Just understanding that it’s a process, and not everyone’s ready for a career at that moment. I am going to pass it back to Laura for the next thing.
Laura: All right. Thank you, Kyle. Career exploration may seem overwhelming, and breaking it down into three tangible steps can help. First, identify career interests. In this step, we want to help families to complete a career assessment to align their interests with potential careers. Second, research specific careers. We’re going to be helping families to conduct internet research and learn more about the careers that interest them. Then, finally, identify the career of choice and assess fit. Based on what a parent or caregiver learns about their career of interest, help them compare the information they’ve gathered with what they want or need in a career. ECLKC’s web page on Partnering with Families to Pursue Employment and Career Goals provides helpful guidance on utilizing the Family Partnership Process to support families in achieving career goals. It suggests resources for families in the career exploration phase. We’re going to take each of these now, one-by-one.
First, identifying career interests. For family members who need a place to start exploring career options, career assessment tools can help. Career assessments ask questions about skills, strengths, and interests. These assessments then show a list of potential careers based on the answers provided. As you engage families in setting goals to the Family Partnership Process, you can consider inviting families to take a career assessment. Career assessments are not tests, and there are no right answers. Instead, they help focus a person on careers that suit their strengths. For example, if someone enjoys working with numbers, they can look for careers, such as accounting, to build on their strengths and interests. You can try out an assessment at careeronestop.org or My Next Move.
Once families have completed the assessment, help them pick two to three careers that they want to learn more about. In practice, how do you envision using a tool like this with families? What might make it easier? You can feel free to put some of those responses into the chat. How do you see potentially using this with families in your work?
You have any thoughts, if you want to feel free to send that through the Q&A. “Could be used after having conversations with families to make sure they’re interested and ready to do a career assessment.” Yes. That’s great. We definitely want to make sure that a family is in a good place to explore that resource. I see here, “During the Family Partnership Process, if the family identifies it has a goal.” That’s great. If the family is hoping to specifically pursue careers but not sure where to start, that can be a great time to point that out. “Walk through it with families. Some might not have internet access.” That’s a great point. We always want to make sure whenever we are referring families to a resource or a tool that it’s also accessible to them. Doing that side-by-side with families can be a wonderful way to do that.
Then, similarly, “Complete a career assessment alongside a family.” [Inaudible] making sure that’s approachable and accessible to families. A final note here, “To translate the career assessment into more family-friendly or linguistically appropriate language if needed.” Definitely appreciate the acknowledgments there, the ways we can make this more useful to families we work with.
All right. Step Number Two is researching careers of interest. Researching a career can be intimidating. There are career databases that can help you figure out where to get started. CareerOneStop, which we already mentioned, is an online database that offers career profiles to help you understand the specifics of thousands of different careers and pathways. It also has a Business Finder tool that allows you to type in an industry and a zip code where you can find employers in your area.
In addition to this internet research, there are other ways to connect families to information from people in the field. You can consider inviting speakers to talk to families in your program and answer questions about careers in an informal panel style. This can also be done one-on-one via informational interviews. You can help families identify people that they know or that they could connect with in their fields of interest, and then support them in setting up those informational interviews. By hearing from and speaking with those already involved in a career, families will likely get answers to questions that they would not find online. In this step, the goal is really to learn more about careers and what it might take to enter them.
Finally, Step Three: Identify the family’s career of choice and assess the fit. You want to make sure that families are set up for success in their pursuit and that the types of careers that they pursue are feasible, given their background, needs, and local opportunities. This support includes asking questions about their readiness to work that could be in general or in the specific industry, and also about the details of the career path itself. Some factors to consider include: Is this something they’re interested in? Is this career in a growth industry? Does it allow for advancement over time? Does it provide a living wage or enough to support their family? Then, finally, can they enter this career path with their current level of education and skills, or is it only reachable with additional education, such as community college degree or a certificate?
What are some other factors that someone might consider as they are selecting a career? Would love to see some of those responses in the chat there. What other factors might someone consider in selecting a career? OK. I’m seeing here, “How about peer-to-peer, other families, community members?” Yes. That’s a great consideration when you’re trying to figure out which career to pursue or people that you might be able to reach out to for those informational interviews.
“Flexibility of hours required in terms of the demands of raising a family.” Absolutely. That’s a huge feasibility consideration to make sure that, given the responsibilities and roles, that that parent or family member has, that the job can fit with that – the career can fit with that. “Will the available jobs fit with their responsibility as a caregiver?” Yes, that’s great. “If another degree or certificate is necessary in order to enter the career, are there financial aid or tuition supports to ensure a family is able to enter a degree or certificate program if they’re interested?” That’s a very important consideration. Are there financial aid or tuition opportunities or other ways that that family can pursue scholarships in order to get that needed education and pursue their career of choice?
“Other jobs in this career in their area.” Yes. Where they are currently geographically located or, given their access to transportation, is this something that they would be able to pursue and to be successful in? “What is available in the needs of the field?” Yes, fantastic. Wonderful, thank you all for sharing your thoughts there. OK, and I will turn it over to Kyle for what happens after career exploration.
Kyle: Awesome. Once a parent or caregiver has identified the career they’d like to pursue, you need to work together to build a plan to support them in entering the career. Just like in career exploration, this plan can be broken down into distinct steps that are personalized for the family. First, you would identify the person’s starting point and help them to build an action plan to gain the skills, education, or experiences they may need to enter that career path. We’ve already started to talk through some ideas here. Step Two would be then the family member begins the job hunt by identifying potential jobs within their career path and then applying for those jobs while receiving support with resumé needs, interview skills, et cetera. Then Step Three, once the job is attained, the family member enters the new career and successfully maintains employment.
Now, we’re going to do a little bit of a deep dive into each of these steps. Some things that you can do for Step One include exploring workforce development opportunities, looking into educational programs, and then using the “Find Training” section on CareerOneStop.
How you support families as they build the skills, education, and experiences they need for the career of their choice will be unique to each family. There are resources that can help build a plan. Key Topic 6 of the “Economic Mobility Toolkit” for Head Start and Early Head Start outlines actions to support families in exploring workforce development opportunities and educational programs. Additionally, the toolkit reminds us that CareerOneStop is a comprehensive, online resource that takes users beyond that exploration phase. The “Find Training” section contains tools for understanding types of training, preparing for training costs, and identifying local training opportunities. Another consideration that falls into this category of skills, education, and experiences is the language skills needed for training in the career itself.
I’m going to ask for more responses in the chat. How have you or how could you approach this step with families who do not have the language skills that may be necessary for a specific career? Once you’ve thought of one of these, you can just put them in the question-and-answer box, and I’ll read them out as they come. Awesome. “Pausing the career goals and focusing on supporting families, and finding ESL or other classes.” That can definitely be a helpful step to help them work towards getting those basic language skills that might be required. “I would explore with them options for improving their language skills.” “Through conversations and motivational interviewing to help the family identify that a first step may be working on their language skills.” Sometimes, families might not know the language skills that might be required to a job because it can be a difficult process to understand. Just working with them to see what type of skills are necessary for those jobs.
I’m going to move on to the next step, which is beginning the job hunt. The job search has several components that may be a part of families’ action plans. It might include, for example, resumé building, working on interview skills, support with applications, obtaining interview attire, and so on and so forth. By connecting families with your local American Job Center, you can get them started on any and all of these tasks. Have you connected families to American Job Centers or similar organizations in the past? If yes, how did it go? You can just put those in the Q&A box once you have them.
I’m seeing a response that someone has connected families to the American Job Center, and “It was a little bit overwhelming.” I’m also seeing that, "“Trying to connect people at …” sorry, “Trying to connect families as individuals is a little bit difficult.” OK. I also see a theme of providing family information and resources that are available in their local community — might look like other community organizations, other nonprofits, other local social service agencies. “Transportation can be an issue with this.” OK. Thank you all for your responses.
Now, we’re going back to Step Three: Entering a new career and maintaining employment. Working towards a career goal and obtaining a job in a new career path often while working a job not related to your career aspirations in order to provide for your family are both major accomplishments. Use celebration and acknowledgments to support families as they hit these milestones. Kind of touched on this a little bit earlier, but now we’re going to expand. In celebration, you’re noting a family’s achievements as well as their willingness to try. You celebrate what they do and the actions they take, whether they be getting their resumé out there or nailing an interview and getting the job offer.
In acknowledgment, you help families connect with their values, strength, and power. This is a strengths-based intervention. Acknowledgment shines the light on who they are being in that moment. It points out the qualities that they visibly demonstrate or the values they’re honoring. For example, you may say, “It’s clear how important it is for you to find a job where you’re helping others.” That’s acknowledging that the family member very much cares about that and wants to find a career in that area.
Another discussion question: What are some of the barriers to employment that families might face? Are there common themes that you see in your work with families on career goals? OK. I see, “Availability and scheduling might be a barrier to employment.” As we mentioned before, families are oftentimes juggling a lot of other responsibilities. Trying to schedule in – adding a job to schedule to that has some challenges. “Various employment that may have to do with transportation and lack of caregiving.” Especially now with COVID and remote learning happening at a lot of schools, it’s difficult for families to go back to work and also make sure that their kids are being looked after.
I see, “work experience,” and connected to that, I see that, “wages for entry-level jobs may be so low that it doesn’t justify entering the workforce because of additional child care needs.” Yes. Wages being low. Child care once again is a barrier. “Computer literacy skills to apply to jobs online.” Those can be pretty difficult, especially for our families who don’t have computer or internet access or are sharing computers with family members. I see, “Child care and also care for elder parents.” These are always things that you can put on a resumé if you have any gaps for years worked.
I’m going to pass it off to Laura, and she’s going to go into some of the situations that some of our families might be going through.
Laura: Great. Thanks, Kyle. I think some of these examples already started to come through with what you all have been sharing in the chat. A few that were touching on people that have gaps in the resumé or had to take off some time to care for a child or an elderly parent. Here’s a situation that you might hear. “I have a gap in my resumé, and I think that’s why I’m not getting the jobs I’m applying for.” We have a couple of ideas of strategies that you can leverage in order to support parents and families who are experiencing this challenge. It’s really common for individuals with children to have spent some time away from official employment, either while raising their children or while caring for other family members.
There are a few tips specifically for addressing these gaps, both on resumés and in cover letters. First, you can encourage parents and caregivers to think about experience and the work that they have done that they may not necessarily have received pay for that could be used to fill in some of that experience section. Here we’re thinking about volunteering or community involvement. This may specifically include serving on a Head Start parent Policy Council, volunteering in their child’s classroom or in the community. In addition to that volunteering work, maybe that parent has experience with continuing education to keep their skills refreshed through courses or online learning. They also might have experience with self-employment. This could be working at home, working in the community for the family, a family member, or a friend.
Drawing attention to the experience and skills they build while being a caregiver is a great idea if they are specifically looking to get into a career in a related field. If that parent is interested in teaching, working in a day care, caring for children, or caring for older adults in a hospice or medical setting, those can all be great opportunities to really highlight those experiences they got as a caregiver. If the field they’re entering is not related to child care or a similar career area, then it might be best to leave the caregiver activities off of the resumé and instead, focus on highlighting some of those other areas we talked on, so other volunteer work or continuing education.
Then you can also consider using a functional resumé layout which will highlight the skills that are most relevant to the career field they’re applying to. CareerOneStop explains different resumé formats and templates. In addition to using a different resumé template, the cover letter offers an opportunity to briefly explain any gap in employment, while emphasizing that the individual has kept their skills up to date and is energized to return from that gap and to rejoin the workforce.
The “Economic Mobility Toolkit” also suggests creating a job club or encouraging parents to join one. CareerOneStop has a Job Club Finder resource. These clubs are a great way to connect jobs seekers with others who are facing similar challenges. These people can provide encouragement to one another throughout their job-seeking journey. Club members also share resources, such as resumés and information about possible job opportunities, and can even practice some mock interviews to make sure that they’re set up for success to get that job. The job search can be a tough process, and in addition to your support, job clubs can help people to know that there are more people with them in this journey.
Thoughtfully addressing resumé gaps can be helpful to job-seeking success. However, there also may be other pieces of feedback that potential employers can provide. If families are not getting called back from employers, or they’re being interviewed and then they’re not receiving those job offers, it can be helpful to encourage them to ask employers directly if they have feedback or suggestions for how to improve future applications and interviews. This can be something that they can take from one experience and then carry it forward so that they can get that next job.
All right. Kyle will go through another situation that families might face.
Kyle: Situation two: “I know what career I want to pursue, but I don’t have the educational requirements or training certifications to get the job.” First, it’s important to celebrate that the family member has identified a job or career that they would like to pursue, because it’s an important milestone in making progress towards their overall goals.
Second, support family members to make a plan to get the required education or training certifications that will allow them to pursue their career of interest or preferred employment. This may include identifying specific level of education needed, and then searching for the right program for them. The Seven Steps Worksheet from the Family Partnership Process, “Engaging in Goal-Setting with Families,” can help guide families through each of the goals-planning steps. Then the “Researching and Comparing Schools” worksheet can guide members towards finding the right program.
You can use open-ended questions to help them articulate why they want to pursue this career. Understanding their motivation helps you support families to stay focused and motivated when challenges arise. The Seven Steps Worksheet from the Family Partnership Process, “Engaging and Goal-setting with Families” resource can help guide families through each of the steps in the goal-planning process. To dive deeper into action planning, use the “Calculating the Cost of College” tool to begin outlining costs for a family considering going back to school and completing job training. The tool lays the foundation for this conversation by listing possible costs — the obvious, such as tuition and books, and the more hidden costs of foregone wages and additional child care.
Head Start and Early Head Start staff can build relationships with local community colleges, which have a variety of options for industry-specific credentials in two-year degrees. Trusted contacts at local schools can smooth the referral process for families who are interested in pursuing programs in the community. What are some open-ended questions that you can ask families to help them stay motivated and focused towards a multi-step career goal? Once again, once you have some answers, you can put them in the Q&A box.
An example of an open-ended question that I saw in the chat box: “Think about everything you’ve accomplished so far in this goal. What helped you to get there?” Putting everything in perspective from where the family is at that point. Another question I see is, “What might get in the way?” which serves as a way to help craft that plan. Another question that I see is, “What do you think you might do to help you stay focused on your education if things get hard?” Then also, “What kinds of support could you access?” Looking at some of those challenges that might arise and looking at some potential solutions to those challenges.
Before we go into some of the takeaways, I just wanted to see if there were any general questions from the group about the presentation. You can put those in the chat box if anything comes up.
Laura: Kyle, I’ll go ahead and tag in here. While you all are thinking of those questions, we will go through the key takeaways just to make sure that we’ve covered everything that we hope to go through today. If any questions come up that you feel like you haven’t fully addressed or are popping through your mind, please add those into the Q&A. Our focus today, we were hoping that we have these three key takeaways. Exploration is an important part of making progress towards career and employment goals. Appreciate all of the thoughtful feedback that you all provided in terms of how to take those tools and really individualize them to each family that you work with.
In addition, we talked about how career exploration may be intimidating to families, but there are tools and resources to guide you and them. We always recommend getting comfortable with tools in advance, before using them with families, so spending some time going through the recommended resources from today to make sure that you’re comfortable with them and can support a family. As many of you mentioned, there can be difficulties with accessing internet or language accessibility, and we want to make sure that we are supporting families to use the tools that we are recommending to them. Then, finally, after career exploration, you can work with families to break down the next steps towards their career goals. That might include building skills, beginning the job hunt, and securing employment.
A couple of questions come through here as I was reading through the key takeaways, which is great. “Are there resources that Head Start staff could access to build their knowledge of career-planning or growth industries?” There are a couple of recommended resources from this session where you can explore specifically through CareerOneStop, that does a really good job of, if you identify that particular career, then it will show you what the options are in your community, what the percentage of companies that would be hiring in that particular industry, if it is considered a growth industry. I think that can be a really helpful starting place.
I want to make sure that I didn’t miss anything here. “What about families who don’t have time for a lot of exploration, like those who need income immediately?” Yes. That’s a great question. I think it goes back to the distinction that Kyle had mentioned earlier around jobs and careers. We definitely want to support families who are seeking more long-term careers, especially careers focused in growth industries, but there are definitely instances where people will just want to get a job to have money coming in because the reality of the bills that they have that they need to meet for their family. If someone wants to look for a job, then definitely something we can support them with. I think some of those pieces that we recommended around resumé gaps can be applicable either for something more as an immediate job or when thinking about long-term career-planning. But we also can support families with both of those simultaneously.
Supporting someone and getting a job more immediately does not prevent you from also supporting and identifying those long-term goals, and the steps that it might take to get there. One of those steps might be, “I need to get a short-term job so I can have income coming in, so that then I can provide a little bit more flexibility to potentially decrease income in the future to pursue education,” for example. Getting that job in the immediate might be a step towards that long-term career, and it’s definitely appropriate to have those conversations directly with families so that those two can fit together.
Alright, let me see … What else? “In your experience, what helps an individual be successful in meeting their career goals?” I think that’s a great question. I would say, with all goals, it really starts with identifying them very specifically at the start. Supporting the family in identifying that goal and also asking them why they are motivated to achieve it, I think, can be very helpful, especially when obstacles arise to fall back on that motivation.
Oftentimes when there isn’t progress that’s being made towards a goal, that might be related to focusing on the wrong priorities. Maybe that was a career that the parent identified they wanted to pursue, but it wasn’t actually aligning with their interests in a successful way, and sometimes that can contribute to not making progress. I think identifying a very clear goal with set timelines for when that goal will be achieved, really clear action steps to make progress towards that can contribute to success. Then also, really tapping into that motivation, that passion. Making sure that we are empowering families to be at the forefront of establishing and pursuing their goals.
Alright, let’s see here. Kyle, also feel free to add any thoughts if you’d like to. “If a family does not have time to create a resumé or search for jobs on their own, can I search for jobs and make their resumé for them?” Great question. With families, we do want to think about a scaffolding approach. If a parent doesn’t have that time to create the resumé, I think one option could be working together in a meeting that you have to start to craft that resumé, and then maybe in between that time that you meet with them and the next time you connect with that family, they could work in filling in some of those bullets.
From a scaffolding perspective, that would be defining what a resumé is, helping to have that brainstorming conversation around what they would want to include, as well as sharing some of that expertise around filling in gaps for the resumé. In that experience section, helping to get creative to make sure that we are capturing the full breadth of experience that a family brings.
Then asking the family to do some work on that outside of the meeting time if that’s appropriate. If that doesn’t feel appropriate, then, I think, using that time together to make sure that resumé is in good shape and setting up that plan with the family for what will work best for them.
Kyle: Adding to what Laura was just saying, it’s important to take a strengths-based approach, which we had mentioned a little bit earlier. Recognizing what the parent already brings and then working with them to build those other skills. Initially, you might be putting in a little more work with the parent to help them to work on applying for jobs. But as you continue to work with them, the hope is that they would pick up some of those things you all had worked together and be able to dedicate more time to apply for jobs.
Laura: Great. Thanks, Kyle. I see another question here about small businesses. “How about families who operate small businesses or side hustles? Can families turn these into careers? Any resources?” There are a plethora of resources on entrepreneurship and small businesses. Definitely something that we can share more information on. That would be treated similarly to other career goals. That could also be an opportunity to support parents and families in connecting with other people in their network.
Oftentimes, small businesses can be more successful when connected to mentoring programs. There’s a lot of organizations that focus specifically on supporting groups of individuals who want to start small businesses. That can be a great way to refer families, that they’re not isolated in starting that business on their own. There are organizations that can help them, for example, with developing business plans, developing a budget for building out that plan. Those can be great starting points. “How might all the suggestions and best practices you shared today look different in our COVID-19 world?” A really important consideration. Kyle, I know you began with some initial framing for this session. I’m not sure if you wanted to say anything there.
Kyle: Because a lot of things are virtual now, that might change how the interview process goes or how – how families might search for jobs or what they might be looking for specifically with jobs. I know that for some of our families, it has been a greater push to find more jobs that are work-from-home jobs, since child care and transportation are two major concerns now. It all really goes back to just trying to get a better understanding of what the family’s looking for at the time as you are helping them apply for jobs and such.
Laura: Great. Thanks, Kyle. I would say, in addition to that, keeping the long-term career goals still relevant and still having those conversations with families, even if that’s not something that, understandably, would be able to move forward right now. We do encourage to keep that conversation as something that families have to look forward to, and is there anything in the interim time that they can work on to strengthen their resumé or to potentially take an online course to pursue continuing education?
Is there an opportunity to remotely volunteer or to get involved with something that they’ve been wanting to do for a while? I think there’s ways to continue to move goals forward towards those long-term careers when realizing that there might be more of a focus on the immediate right now, and with some understandable safety concerns as well. “Interviewing online can be stressful. What are your thoughts about practicing with families?”
Kyle: I was going to say there are some great resources out there from different organizations that focus more on workforce development and job readiness. You can definitely leverage those to look into some of their behavioral interviewing questions that are commonly asked for interviews. Also, just really working with the members with the tech literacy – figuring out the ins and outs of programs, such as Zoom or Teams, that online interviews might be conducted on. A combination of the two, I would say.
Laura: Great. Thanks, Kyle. If you are also meeting with families virtually, or even if not, you could set up a mock interview to go through a couple of questions just so it gets comfortable, and you get familiar with what it feels like to be looking at a screen and be going through some of those.
We have time for one more question. Kyle, do you want to select one?
Kyle: “How might historical oppression, example racism, sexism, and ageism, impact the career search?” This one’s a tough one, but also one that’s especially relevant now. With applying for jobs, those historic forms of oppression, a lot of them still carry on today and are still connected to the career search. That can go into the level of education that’s required, and certain questions that exclude certain populations, such as history of incarceration or things like that. Just being mindful of those realities and working to not only be a support system for families but also connecting them to any resources that can help go around those forms of oppression. I don’t know if you had anything else to add too, Laura.
Laura: Thanks, Kyle. I think you did a great job of highlighting the more macro-level context there. I would say also keep it in mind the individual impacts that that might have for a parent or a family member, and providing space so that you can help to empower families to elevate those strengths. A process such as career exploration or job searching, that sometimes can have rejection and isolation, to make sure that we are there in partnership to lift up and to empower our families through the process. Great. Thank you all. Those are wonderful questions. We will continue here.
Just a few housekeeping items then as we wrap up, but we really appreciate you sharing all of your thoughts today with us. To complete this session and download your certificate of attendance, you can follow these steps below. First, you’re going to go to the engagement tools at the bottom of your console. If you click on the blue “Certificate of Attendance” icon, a pop-up message will appear on your screen there.
If you have met the full credit criteria, a certificate icon will appear in the tool window. That’s going to allow you to download your certificate. Clicking that icon will open the certificate as a PDF in a new browser tab. You can either save it to your computer, which we recommend, or you can also print it. If you attended this session with several of your colleagues and all of you have met the full credit criteria, the group leader can add other viewers by opening the Group Viewer Form.
Don’t forget to download the resources in the “Resources and Helpful Links” section of your console. I know we referenced quite a few today. Hopefully, those are helpful to you in your future work, and these are also available on the Engagement Hub. Lastly, your feedback is really important to us. We have an Event Survey posted on the Engagement Hub. Please remember to complete this Event Survey at the end of the institute.
We know how eager all of you are to resume full in-person services for children and families. The great news is that the Biden Administration has prioritized teachers, early educators, and child care staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. To learn more about the vaccine, we have information available in the Engagement Hub to help you become confident in making the right decision for yourself.
Finally, we invite you to join us in the Engagement Hub for a self-care break and to get ready for your next session. Thank you so much.Close
Helping families navigate their career goals can seem overwhelming at times. This session gives Head Start program staff tangible ways to discover families’ strengths, career interests, and ways to leverage families’ skills as they begin a job search or enroll in an education or vocational program.
- How to assess a family member’s readiness to work and how to address barriers to employment
- Best tools and resources to help families make decisions about their career goals and pathways
- Resources that help families build skills to begin a job hunt