By Gary Wixom
Assistant Commissioner for Career and Technical Education
Utah System of Higher Education
I recently read an article detailing the challenge businesses are having today attracting and keeping skilled workers. Businesses are finding that it is not enough to find employees that fit their requirements, but are struggling to keep them. One of the solutions being suggested for companies is to build a career map for their employees. What is a career map? A career map for employees in a business is a clear pathway of professional development available to employees within the business entity.
This career map provides an employee with a clear, transparent “road map” for employees to grow, develop, and advance within the company. In turn, the company grows and advances. Most businesses understand that the success or failure of the company rests squarely on the skill level, and the productivity of their entry and mid-level employees. These are the individuals who are the backbone of the company—keeping these employees satisfied and progressing within the company brings success to the company as a whole.
If having a career map is important for a business to succeed in today’s global economy, having a well-defined career map is also essential for all students. What does a “career map” look like for a student? A career map for a student has the same characteristics of the career map for employees within a business.
A career map for a student should start early and provide a clear pathway through the educational environment of middle school, high school, and postsecondary training. Flexibility is an essential component, giving students clear direction but offering a pathway to a variety of professional occupational choices leading to jobs and careers that provide a living wage.
A well-defined career map for a student should provide a clear pathway to not only the completion of high school, but also completing the requirements by taking a rigorous course of study that gives them the skills that prepare them to be “College and Career Ready”. In the global world that we live in, everyone needs a set of basic skills that prepare them so that they can acquire the skills that lead to productive employment at a level that provides a livable standard of living.
As a student, ask yourself, do I have a career map? Be sure that you have a well-defined career map that will help you complete high school with a career pathway that leads you to a professional occupation of your own choosing. Need help creating the map? Visit with your parents, a teacher, or a career counselor and create a career map for yourself. Make sure it is written and then post it on your wall where you will see it regularly. The result will increase the chances of you achieving the goals that you have for yourself in providing an exciting a successful future.