About. Mission. Story.
Our mission at Idea2Career is to help teens and young adults to envision, build and act on a career plan that’s relevant, meaningful and achievable; one that will benefit not only themselves, but their future families, their communities, society and the economy.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, I spent a number of years as a high school career counselor. For the most part I helped young people figure out what they were going to do after they graduated, and then how they were going to make it happen. More often than not I met with kids who:
- Were struggling to find some sort of direction.
- Hated school for any number of reasons.
- Were going to college with no plan AT ALL; other than thinking that they’d figure things out when they got there.
- Felt that college (in the traditional sense, which is all they knew) wasn’t for them right now, if ever.
- Had big plans, but didn’t know how to make them happen.
- Were identified as “unmotivated” or “at risk”.
- Had little, if any, positive relationship with a mentor or advisor at their high school.
- I could go on, but the list is endless.
Hundreds of thousands of young people are falling through the cracks and struggling to find a direction after high school. So many are:
- Going to college because it’s expected of them.
- Dropping out of college for more reasons than I can possibly go into here.
- Graduating from college and are either unemployed, or are in a job totally unrelated to their major. Why? Because they need the money to pay for the exorbinant student loans they’ve run up, along with everything else they need to pay for.
- High school graduates that just fell into a job so they could support themselves.
- Unemployed, or working part-time at a minimum wage job, and getting negative feedback from the adults in their lives.
- Losing motivation about their ability to be successful so they’re becoming emotionally stuck and discouraged.
- You fill in the blank. You know you can.
This isn’t something new, but it’s definitely not ok. So, how does this happen? In many cases it’s because they’re uninformed. They don’t have the knowledge and resources that should be made available to them, and that are relevant to them personally, so they can make educated and informed decisions about their future.
In many high schools, delivering career guidance is a struggle. A survey of guidance counselors found that they’re spending only 38 minutes per student per year on career and college planning. In fact, 20% of high schools in the United States don’t employ a guidance counselor. The system’s broken, and many people know it, but how can we fix it? In my world, it comes down to information and accountability. Giving young people the tools and resources that will empower them to make educated and informed decisions, and then holding them accountable for doing the work.
Let’s face it, adolescent brains (many of them anyway) aren’t thinking about their future at 14, or even 18 in many cases. It comes down to biology. Their brain hasn’t quite developed the cognitive abstract-thinking skills necessary to consider what they’re going to do 2 weeks from now never mind 2 years from now. Adults are expecting kids to think, plan, and behave like adults. Not happening. Which is why we can’t just GIVE them information and expect them to run with it, we need to embed it into their life experience, preferably their high school experience if at possible. Which is where the Idea2Career platform of career development courses come into play.
What’s the fix? Give teens and young adults awareness, knowledge, resources, and relevance. Get them excited about what they’re great at, love to do, and what they find relevant to themselves. Take advantage of the teenage ego and have it work in their favor. Give them the tools and resources to help them make decisions, and then help connect them with those resources so they can build something. Something they’ve chosen, and something they own. Their decisions. Their way. And hold them accountable. That’s it.
That’s what I value. That’s what I’m doing. That’s my mission and that’s the meaning of Idea2Career.
Stick around, I think you’ll learn a lot.
~ Michele Verley
That would be me, Michele Verley. Here are the basics and my credentials.