April 12, 2024

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Careers Site

YouScience, Greater Springfield Partnership help students in career assessments.

5 min read
YouScience, Greater Springfield Partnership help students in career assessments.

The program was introduced in the spring of 2021 and implemented in the fall of 2022. The Greater Springfield Partnership, along with county and city schools, had representatives from YouScience come to the city to show them the assessment and see if they wanted to use it to help guide students for future careers.

Each school has an ambassador to help students and have access to related reports that the Greater Springfield Partnership purchased for the school to have with the software. When a counselor becomes an ambassador, they get a training with YouScience and can administer those links to students to take the assessments.

‘A direction to go’

At Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA), ambassador and Chief Academic Officer Jamison Truebenbach said students are responding to YouScience positively.

“It provides them with a direction to go as they prepare for the future,” she said.

As a school administrator, Truebenbach said she feels YouScience is extremely valuable because students have access to their results for 10 years, they learn about themselves, and it allows them to explore training and educational opportunities that fit their career path.

“Students learn so much about their interests and aptitudes to help them make decisions regarding their future career,” she said.

YouScience gives students key vocabulary about their talents (numerical detective, collaborative planner) and types of work (investigative, social, enterprising), Truenbach said, and informs students of the prospective outlook for growth in their chosen careers.

About 200 students take the survey each year, and all students in grades eight and 11 have to take it. Students in eighth grade take it so they know what employers to visit at an eighth-grade career fair, then they take the interest portion again in 11th grade to help them determine what path might be a good fit for their senior capstone. The high school guidance counselor then uses the results to go over the students’ future plans to prepare them for after high school.

A generational shift

Donahoe said from a parent standpoint, YouScience has changed the way she looks at what her kids can do.

“My generation was told we had to get a four-year degree. Now those my age still have that instilled in us, unless they’ve been immersed for what changes have been made… There’s a lot of opportunity out there for individuals choosing not to go to a four-year program,” she said.

Donahoe added that if there’s a program that shows and tells kids they’re great, especially ones that don’t get a positive reinforcement at home, it just broadens and opens up the possibilities of who and what they can be in their lives.

At Emmanuel Christian Academy, Alicia Kidder, dean of Pupil Services, said the students have also responded well to YouScience. It has been encouraging to hear from students how the results have either confirmed their thoughts about the future or challenged them.

“YouScience has been an excellent tool for ECA to use as we help point students to their calling in life,” she said. “YouScience takes interests and pairs that with the students’ God-given abilities, giving them a much richer and more accurate understanding of their strengths and the careers that would be the best overall fit.”

Kidder said the program has been a great platform to start the conversation around students’ futures and has given them the opportunity to explore and find out their gifts and abilities,

“For many students, they don’t know where to begin as they consider future careers. They explore careers that they have heard of but don’t often have exposure to a wide range of careers,” she said.

The assessment is not only a good education tool for students, but also for guidance counselors and parents to help guide them.

Career clusters

Kaitlyn Tyler, talent and education coordinator for the Greater Springfield Partnership, said the program shows non-traditional careers and uses 16 career “clusters” that show the different jobs and skills within a certain career.

“It helps students create a career path, and it’s a great tool to help them navigate that and help put them on a success path,” she said. “It shows they are good at something and need those skills to do something with their lives.”.

Tyler markets YouScience with schools and employers, offering services for all schools, including the reporting for counselors that shows percentages, students’ top interests and skills. Tyler said a lot of schools are using that reporting to bring in employers and have job fairs.

Students take the first assessment, called the snapshot, in eighth grade before a career exploration event, and then take the second one, called the summit, in 10th grade.

What the Greater Springfield Partnership does is integrate YouScience into anything related to workforce. They have an eighth-grade career exploration event each year where employers set up around a room like a job fair and students, knowing their assessment results, come in and talk with employers that match those skills or “clusters.”

“We are all continuing to talk about YouScience and put it at the forefront with what we do with workforce because it’s an important piece,” Donahoe said.

Tyler also kicked off the internship program again this year where she went to the high schools and talked to students about participating in paid internships with local businesses.

This year, 51 students applied and 49 attended a training day with local human resource representatives to learn about resumes, interviewing, soft skills and finance. After that, she met with all students one-on-one to go through the results and match them with companies hosting interns this summer. About 40 students then interviewed with up to three companies, and 18 students were placed in internships this year.

For the students who were not placed in an internship, Tyler followed up and sent them a list of summer opportunities.

The YouScience program is not required, it’s each schools’ choice to use, so Donahoe said they have to be aware of respecting the schools and meet them where they are and where they want to go.

Not all county and city schools are participating in YouScience at this time, but the Greater Springfield Partnership has had more interest this past year and some more will be on board for next year.


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