More and more libraries are implementing programs that support teens transitioning from high school to college, careers, and independent living. You have probably heard about or even implemented adulting 101 programs, college test prep classes, and volunteer programs designed more like jobs for which teens have to apply and interview. Have you considered focusing on nontraditional and vocational (trade school) alternatives?
Four year colleges and universities are too expensive for many teens and increasingly competitive to get into. Fewer people are going into trades that require mid-level skills while opportunities in these fields are growing. Many of these careers pay better than those only require a high school diploma, and some of them pay really well.
You can learn more about these trends and relevant library program ideas in Career Programming for Today’s Teens: Exploring Nontraditional and Vocational Alternatives by Amy Wyckoff and Marie Harris. To get you started, I recommend the following online resources:
- Read Career Workshops for Teens, an article by Amy Wyckoff in American Libraries.
- Look at this list of Trade Schools in Oregon compiled by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) in 2017
- Explore ODE’s Career and Technical Education website
- Learn about construction trade apprenticeships in Oregon
- Contact your regional Worksource Oregon Center to start a conversation with them about job opportunities for teens in your community—perhaps they would be a good partner!