For middle school students, “Career education is needed to lay the groundwork for future career development by helping students achieve the following goals: knowledge of personal characteristics, interests, aptitudes and skills, awareness of and respect for diversity of the world of work, understanding the relationship between school performance and future choices and development of a positive attitude toward work.” Kerka, 2000.

Schools have been doing what they can in order to prepare students for their futures; however, guidance counselor positions have become more diverse than they were initially created for, and the demands on the teachers in the classrooms are ever-increasing.  While schools continue to keep up with the state and federal requirements, what else can parents, employers and the community do to contribute to students’ career education?

By partnering with Ignite, a program of United Way of Southwest Virginia, parents, community partners, and employers can join the efforts of the school system to build students’ career education and awareness. With Ignite:

  • Educators receive software that helps them assess their students, link students to real employers in Southwest Virginia, and guide students in their career choices.
  • Employers help prepare youth for the workforce by investing in students through guest speaking, company tours, classroom demonstrations, work-based learning, and more.
  • Students get real-world advice, career matchmaking, day-in-the-life videos, online games, soft skill development, find out what options are available locally for employment once they graduate, and more.
  • Parents can keep up with their students’ career interests with Ignite’s integration into Power School. Within the parent portal, they can see their students’ career aspirations, start conversations about their students’ future, and contact guidance counselors and teachers.

Together, we can Ignite the workforce of tomorrow!

For more information on how you can be a part of Ignite, please contact Crystal Breeding at


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