More and more, community colleges are recognizing that very few of their students can afford the luxury of registering for courses in a vacuum. Knowing what career direction they are headed in, what jobs may be available in their chosen field, and how they can continue to build on their community college education to earn further credentials or degrees is a priority for many students at community colleges.
For this reason, a number of community colleges are choosing to front-load career advice for all their students, including their foreign-educated ones.
Providing Career Pathways Information
The California Career Café of California Community Colleges provides an attractive, easy-to-use virtual career center for community college students – and you don’t need to live in California to use it! The website offers links to information on 15 different career pathways. For each career pathway, the website provides online tools that allow students to understand what career opportunities are available along that pathway, what educational degrees or certificates are needed for those opportunities, what the job outlook is for any particular job along that pathway, and how to find scholarships, internships and mentors in that field.
Watch a video “front-load career advice” to learn how to navigate the site!
Career Pathways Roadmaps
The Oregon Career Pathways Initiative began with 5 colleges and now includes all 17 community colleges in Oregon. Each has developed Career Pathways roadmaps that are visual tools to help students and community college advisors and counselors understand and navigate various education and career options. The roadmaps visualize career pathways from entry level credentials to A.S. and B.S. degrees and include various “entry” and “exit” points that note job opportunities, anticipated wages and other labor market information, as well as career and academic advising services and financial aid options. For instance, Mt. Hood Community College has designed Career Pathway roadmaps in a variety of occupations and fields, including medical customer service, accounting, child care center teacher, and behavioral healthcare specialist. A specially designed Vocational ESL program for non-native English speakers, immigrants, and refugees charts a path from Certified Nursing Assistant to Registered Nurse positions.
Local hospitals, schools, and businesses may view immigrant professionals’ bilingual skills and foreign experience as definite assets in communities serving increasingly diverse populations. Partnerships between colleges and employers can lead to recruiting through the campus for apprenticeships and internships where foreign experience and foreign languages can be surprisingly valuable.