Idaho State Board of Education and the Idaho Workforce Development Council are encouraging both students and their parents/family members to keep cool and spend some downtime this summer contemplating their dream jobs.

“Career exploration is a really fun and meaningful activity for kids to do with their parents, siblings, and other family members,” says Wendi Secrist, the executive director of the Idaho Workforce Development Council. “And summer provides concentrated, relaxed family time to reimagine what we want to be ‘when we grow up.’ Both students and adults can learn something about themselves by taking fun self-assessments about strengths, passions, and interests. They can then explore careers that the online tools suggest. The results may be surprising, or they might show that you’re already on the path to your ideal future—either way you’ll have a helpful new perspective for your career planning.”

Idaho offers students and workers two key platforms that house numerous tools to guide and support students planning a career path or workers wishing to change or advance their careers: ● Next Steps Idaho is an online platform offering curated information, resources, tools, tips, and interactive activities that can help Idahoans navigate their own personalized education and career journeys. ● The Idaho Launch website features recent, Idaho-specific data about some of the most in-demand skills reported by employers. Additionally, the program provides information on how to access funds to help pay for a robust list of training opportunities from numerous institutions. What’s more, by signing up on the site, you can connect with a career planner who can help identify training opportunities as well as potential funding for such training.

Sara Scudder, Career Information Senior Program Manager for the State Board of Education, recommends getting started with a few of the specific tools and self-assessments that kids and parents can do independently and then compare results. “Some of the most popular features on Next Steps, for people of all ages, are the interactive tools and quizzes that allow people to get a little clearer about how and where they like to work, how they best learn, what kinds of things interest them (and don’t interest them), and what they really excel at.” Scudder suggests the following activities to get started: ● Future Finder: React to statements like “I like to cook,” “I like to give speeches,” and “I like assembling things.” Once you identify your strengths and interests, you’ll see how those might translate into a future career. ● Browse Careers: Explore hundreds of different professions, including careers students may have never heard of, and learn about what the job entails, education/training needed, salary ranges, and the demand in Idaho for workers in that field. ● Plan Smart: Determine the lifestyle you desire now or in the future (rent vs. own, married or single, frequency of dining out, car payments, cable/phone bills, etc.) and then see how much it will cost. Then click through to careers that could provide the income you need for that lifestyle. ● Work Values Inventory: We do our best work when the job is aligned with our values. Take this quick survey to identify the values that matter most to you, so you can factor them into your career planning.

This summer is an ideal time for adults, students, and families to explore their career aspirations together, using the tips and tools found at Next Steps Idaho.