online tools for teens in education
October 2019

These Online Helpers Help Teens Find Careers

Career Pathways: October 2019

By Mary Gaukel Forster

Schools today are focusing on programs to help guide students on their career paths.

Districts in Santa Cruz have adopted the on-line program called NAVIANCE, a comprehensive college and career readiness solution that helps districts and schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals. Naviance improves student outcomes by helping them connect their strengths and interests to long-term goals today. 

online tools for teens in education
There are important tools teens can find to help get them started on career paths. They can do them in school or at home on computers.

This program serves middle school through high school students in the areas of Career Exploration, College Readiness, and Self Discovery.  For each grade level there is a series of surveys, lessons, and activities that are tracked online to inform the student, teacher, counselor, parent.  Based on surveys, and lessons, students document their desired career and college explorations, courses, preferences, and plans.  They create on-line portfolios and resumes.  It is an excellent “one-stop” shopping tool that can be used in school or home. See

There are two other online sites that offer help.

MONTEREY BAY CAREER CONNECT, sponsored by the nonprofit Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, is a free one-stop hub for college and career exploration appropriate for 6th graders through college students. 

They can take a free career assessment and find a career path that fits. They can also get coaching on resumes and job interviews.

The last site, Career Concourse, is sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board.  It is for high school students to adults seeking careers.  It offers many of the features of Naviance and Career Connects but is more specific in providing a local connection to the education needed, earnings range, and jobs available for careers.

As a parent, I suggest that you engage in some of the surveys on Naviance (request a demo), Career Connect, or Career Concourse.  Explore and learn and then invite your student to use them.  Conversation starters, after the student has used the programs,  might include:  what surprised you about your results, do you think the results were accurate, did you take a survey using more than one program, how did they differ?  Even asking if they have used Naviance in their schools will help students become aware of the College and Career exploration program.  

Career questions have been a part of Mary’s life since she was first asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She began teaching elementary school, had her own children, taught in middle school and high school, became a high school principal, finally a grandparent, and currently the executive director for the non-profit organization, Your Future Is Our Business.  Mary now focuses on fulfilling the mission of “providing all youth in our county with career explorations”.  Your Future Is Our Business is  funded by the County Office of Education in partnership  with the University of California Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, and Cal State University Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz City Schools, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, Santa Cruz County College Commitment.  

Reach Mary at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *