With a population of about 13,000, Green River, Wyoming may seem like a sleepy town. But when it comes to career planning, the Green River High School Career Center is ahead of the game. Using the innovative career assessment software, Magellan, by Valpar International Corporation, the Career Center is meeting its goals of providing career awareness and decision-making for the population of Green River.
Through Magellan, students access several independent assessments of job skills including academics, physical skills, temperaments, people skills, data skills, interests, and time required for training. Students are then able to explore how these skills relate to different careers and evaluate their levels for each skill. These assessments then can be used to identify top job choices. Hotlinks to the Internet and live action videos allow students to fully investigate a career and actually see what is involved.
The Career Center is open to all high school students, parents, businesses, and community members. There are about 1,100 students at Green River High School. Career Center Director, Lisa Robison, wants all her students to go through Magellanís career assessment process. So far 400 have completed the process and 300 are prepared to start.
Magellan users include high school students and 8th graders preparing for high school. Adults whoíve lost their jobs due to layoffs and closings also visit the Career Center and use the Magellan software to match their skills, abilities, and interests to a new career. Aviator, a validated aptitude and interest assessment software system, by Valpar, is also administered to adults giving them two perspectives on skills and abilities. About 100 adults from the surrounding community have taken advantage of these tools.
Magellan is now an integral part of the Career Centerís guidance curriculum. Each student completing the assessment receives one-on-one instruction and counseling. Magellan is also used in Green River High Schoolís Independent Living class.
Independent Living is a 21st Century version of the old Home Economics course. In addition to the usual home ec topics, students learn the concept of cost of living. They use Magellan to search for specific jobs, obtain average salary figures, and then develop home budgets that fit the chosen scenario.
The Special Education Department uses Magellan to help develop Independent Education Plans (IEPs) for students with special needs. IEPs are used in transition planning, providing a road map for students making the change from school to job and helping them to adapt to a disability or special need. In fact, Magellan is now an integral part of every transition plan.
The beauty of this software is that it provides students with a connection between academics and the world of work, said Director Robison. Magellanís career profiles give relevance to classroom work. Students now know why they need to study a particular subject. For instance, I had a junior who was already interested in a career in electronic technology. He had no intention, however, of taking any upper level math courses. After seeing the relationship between math and electronics, he eagerly revised his course plan to include these more challenging courses.
Students can redo any part of the assessment. As they pick up new job skills or complete courses, they can review their progress and their career plan. The reports the students receive give them a clear picture of the skills and abilities needed for each career. For the student, the four-year plan of classes for a specific career goal is a great benefit.
As a manager of the Magellan program, I absolutely love the ability to download the results of the students and put them into a spreadsheet, said Ms. Robison. It has helped us with the accountability of the Career Center. Also being able to put our high school course titles in the class schedules is a real plus. I can customize Magellan to match the schoolís curriculum. The longer I work with it, the more capabilities I discover, and Iím continually impressed with the results.
This is the first year that Green River students have used the Magellan software. However, Director Robison has already seen an increase in the motivation of those students.
Once they choose a career interest, students actually become excited about seeing the class schedules and finding the right classes to take, she said. This year, they took their registration more seriously than ever before.
Most students come into the Career Center with little direction as to their future, she continued. Some, because they donít read the schoolís materials, arenít even aware of the courses available to them. Itís amazing, you can literally hear a sigh of relief when students find out that Magellan will help them find coursework and develop a 4-year plan for a specific job or career.
You really want to help these kids set goals for their future, said Ms. Robison. Magellan is the kind of tool that career counselors have been thinking about for years. You know, nationwide, 50% of all students drop out of college in their first year. And chances are if they donít have a clear education goal, they probably donít have a plan to get them into the job market either. This software can provide them with the map they need to get them into the career field they want.
Valparís Magellan software has also dramatically improved the Directorís job.
I used to be consumed with non-counseling activities, lamented Ms. Robison. I only saw students on a drop-in basis. Now I can see all my students. I actually spend more time sitting down face to face with them. I get to see the results of my counseling activities. And I like what Iím seeing. These kids are actually motivated when it comes to pursuing their career goals!