• Joanna Gaden

Guidance Counselors + Teachers: Do You and Your Students Know About Professional Trades?

Your high school students are struggling. They’re encouraged by their parents, support networks, and likely by you -- their guidance counselors and teachers-- to keep up their grades, prep for the SATs, and brush up on extracurriculars to go to college. Period, end of story. Many of your students are unprepared and unable to consider other pathways besides college, including Career Technical School, apprenticeship programs, professional trade skills, or simply jumping right into the workforce. Want them to be more prepared? Maybe you’re a guidance counselor who’s feeling in the dark about alternative education and career options, a teacher who sees the potential in your students who don’t see college as an option, or a parent/mentor who wants to provide your student with all of their options before taking on semesterly payments and debt. Wherever you are in your search for better career awareness options, Pathway X Events (PxE) is here to help.


At PxE, we understand that it can be overwhelming to take on career awareness initiatives on top of college preparation, parenting, grading papers, being a mentor and counselor to your student, and life in general. Between PxE produced career awareness events, like Build It: Construction! and Make It: Manufacturing!, a Michigan Department of Education certified guidance counselor and teacher workshop, and a short guide below, we’re here to help you feel less stuck. Understanding alternative pathways to career success, or in the very least acknowledging that there are equally as viable options besides college, will help your student feel more at ease.


Participate in Career Awareness Events


The PxE produced showcase, Build It: Construction! on February 27th will feature hands-on, interactive activities for middle and high schoolers led by five construction industry businesses: Operating Engineers, Plumbers, Bricklayers, Carpenters, Electricians, and Drones. Here, students from Hazel Park, Oak Park, and Ferndale Public Schools will get a better understanding of the careers and career pathways available to them in the trade skills industry.


The State of Michigan hosts similar career awareness events, which inspired PxE to create Build It: Construction! Check out: The Construction Science Expo, MI Construction Career Days, MI Career Quest, Ready. Set. Build! Construction Career Expo, and Junior Achievement.


Participating in Build It: Construction! 2020 and similar events is an easy and rewarding way to get a first hand look at your students’ career awareness progress while learning a little something about professional achievement yourself.


Attend A Workshop



The Michigan Department of Education requires that licensed guidance counselors complete “150 hours of education-related professional learning” to maintain their 5-year license. This can include college semester credit hours, State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH), Michigan District Provided Professional Development, or any combination of these three categories. These courses must cover career awareness and professional development topics, including college readiness and selection, career readiness, and industry-specific career knowledge. During the upcoming Build It: Construction! event, PxE will host guidance counselors and teachers in a 4 hour workshop, compliant with earning SCECH hours and fulfilling pertinent career awareness topics. Following the workshop, a short tailored tour of the event will show guidance counselors and educators what their students are experiencing. If you are interested in attending, you can register via the Event Brite event, LEARN IT: Construction Career Pathways // for Career Counselors & Educators.


Similar professional development and school counselor workshop events are listed in The Michigan Depart of Education SCECH catalog, where you can search for programs under specific dates, sponsors, number of SCECH hours, categories, and program formats.


Check Out These Michigan Resources


  • Career Explorer on MI Talent provides resources for Michigan students and educators, including Michigan job highlights, job and career fair events, apprenticeship opportunities, and job search platforms. As a guidance counselor or teacher, use MI Talent as a preliminary career awareness hub to access additional resources.

  • MI Bright Future is a career exploration platform that connects students with job matches based on their interests, career mentors and coaches, educational requirements for jobs, and resources to apply for jobs. As a parent or educator you can be a part of your students’ career exploration by signing up on MI Bright Future to learn about career awareness activities, connect your students with jobs and job mentors, and meet professional development requirements.

  • When your students are ready to start job searching and/or looking at job requirements, Michigan Works can connect them with an online job search platform and even in-person guidance. Discussing options with someone who specializes in job searching may open their minds to new possibilities. When they’re ready to apply to jobs, resume and interview prep is also available.