Tech Prep to teach kids about careers early Program will start in kindergarten

December 21, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll students will be better prepared for careers when they participate in a new program designed to get them thinking about jobs as early as kindergarten, educators said Friday.

The Tech Prep program, which is still under study, will encourage students to think about what kind of work they would be interested in and good at, the educators said.

Friday, about 40 teachers, administrators, counselors, students and business people on a Tech Prep committee met at Carroll Community College to discuss the program.

They have been studying the concept since last February and are not sure when it will be implemented.

"The world is changing so much," said Cheryl Jones, the Tech Prep liaison for Carroll from the Maryland Department of Education.

In the past, businesses needed employees who could perform a specific skill, she said. Now, they need workers who can perform the skill, make decisions and be retrained easily, she said.

About 16 Maryland counties are developing Tech Prep programs, Ms. Jones said.

Carroll schools for many years have been preparing students for careers, said Marjorie Lohnes, Carroll's supervisor of home economics and career and technical education.

In lower grades, students take field trips to fire departments and other work places to become familiar with jobs, she said.

When Tech Prep begins, teachers and counselors in elementary schools will talk with students about four basic career areas:

* People -- helping, teaching, selling to or caring for others in jobs such as nurse, teacher, counselor, travel agent and salesperson.

* Data -- working with information, numbers, files and papers in jobs such as bank teller, secretary and accountant.

* Things -- working with machines, materials and tools in jobs such as engineer, farmer, bricklayer and computer programmer.

* Ideas -- working with new ways of saying or writing ideas in jobs such as scientist, doctor, photographer and architect.

As students get older, counselors will talk to them about blending the four areas, Ms. Lohnes said.

An eighth-grader wouldn't be required to say what career he wants to pursue, but would be asked to start identifying areas of interest and aptitude, she said.

Tech Prep should help make students more successful when they do choose a career path, she said.

The program is designed to help students who don't know what they want to do when they finish high school, Ms. Jones said.

Tech Prep will help prepare them to go to college or get an apprenticeship or job, she said.

The U.S. government says there are 12,099 occupations, said Kristine DeWitt, career counselor at the community college.

Schools could use a computer program for Tech Prep that helps students relate their abilities to certain careers, she said. The program also helps them plan their high school courses.

Liberty High School teacher Clare E. Linfield is coordinating the Tech Prep program.

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