Impact of COVID-19 on Career Readiness
Over the past nine months, educators, students, and families have pivoted to online, hybrid, and even a new version of in-person learning. Throughout this transition, school counselors have been hard hit with learning to work with students in a virtual environment and losing their most important asset: face-to-face interactions.
A recent survey of Naviance educators showed that career planning activities have been significantly impacted throughout the pandemic. Because of the lack of classroom time as well as in-person events, many career planning activities have taken a backseat to navigating distance and hybrid learning. Over 80% of educators state that the pandemic has negatively impacted their ability to provide career planning activities to students.
Middle and high school counselors typically spend the fall introducing career pathways to students in order to set them up for academic course planning, college planning, and internships. This year, almost two-thirds of educators say that they are delivering fewer career lessons this fall than last.
Not surprisingly, the type of activities that are seeing the most impact are those that are typically most effective in a face-to-face or group setting. A significant decrease has been reported across the board, but especially in the areas of career fairs, guest speakers, and job shadows and apprenticeship programs. Activities such as career assessments and searches, strengths assessments, CTE course attendance, and resume writing have seen less of an impact.
Career Planning Best Practices
What can we do moving forward to ensure students get caught up and stay on track with their career planning? Whether schools are delivering career planning instruction in-person, online, or in a hybrid format, here are five best practices to keep in mind:
- Maximize Assessments: Use online tools like interest inventories, career assessments and strengths explorers to help students understand their strengths and interests. As they begin understanding who they are, they can better connect the dots to their career interests.
- Involve Teachers: We know teachers are busy! But definitely involve them in the conversation as much as possible. You can collaborate on assignments or have a career day in class.
- Utilize Self-Paced Curriculum: Scheduled time in the classroom is not an option in our new normal. A great option is to leverage self-paced curriculums. The goal is to allow students to have a guided experience that is holistic and connects the dots between their interests and career paths. The Naviance CCLR Curriculum is a great option. Read about how Napa Valley Unified School District used Naviance CCLR Curriculum in a virtual learning environment.
- Involve Families: As much as you can, engage with parents and guardians. Help guide the conversation around career planning for parents by sending home talking points or activities. Many are eager to help, but just need to know how to get involved. Watch our on-demand webinar on ways to engage families with Naviance.
- Get Creative: If these past few months have shown us anything, it’s that educators know how to pivot. Get creative with how you deliver career planning instruction to students. Test out different virtual experiences to see what engages your students.
To learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on career readiness, watch our on-demand webinar, A Nationwide Look at Career Readiness Trends in Middle and High Schools.