Youth & Young Adults

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    Posted October 25, 2011 by auset
    Categories: Career Tips

    by Willette Coleman

    I’ve mentored high school and college students who have dreams but no career plan.  Truthfully, at 17-years-old, when I wanted to be a fashion designer, I didn’t have a career plan either.  Thanks to each of my grandmothers, and my father, who was a professional tailor, I sew well.  My portfolio contains photographs of my “forward thinking” designs, as a friend describes them.  During a short stint at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and as an administrative assistant for a clothing manufacturing company in Manhattan’s “garment district,” I realized that the mega stress in an industry where people frantically dash around shouting, cursing, and acting as if a delayed shipment is tantamount to an earthquake, didn’t suit my temperament.  Waaaaay too much drama.  However, my love for fabric texture, designs, colors, patterns and clothing construction remains.  I also enjoyed writing.  My Alabama elementary school choir and I, magnificently, sang the graduation song I wrote.  Instead of encouragement, family, including my grandmother who anointed me “lawyer”, cautioned that I couldn’t earn a good living writing.  But, enough about me.  The point is that, hindsight being 20/20, I realize that the four steps in a career plan – Self, Career Options, Career Match, and Career Action Plan – could have helped me tremendously.  According to the Education Resource Information Center (ERIC “Individualized career plans (ICPs) or personal plans of action can provide focus for an individual’s life”, and “Career development is recognized as a lifelong, ongoing process,” from which anyone at any age can benefit.  However, schools with a career planning curriculum, beginning in 9th and 10th grades, helps students grasp the concept and value of creating an ICP while they’re not under the adult pressures to pay bills.

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