Career choices of students reflect changing times

In 2009, graduating high school students are exploring ways in which they can involve their personal passions into a financially viable career, and increasingly turning their back on more traditional business degrees.

In 2009, graduating high school students are exploring ways in which they can involve their personal passions into a financially viable career, and increasingly turning their back on more traditional business degrees.

That was just one of the trends that emerged as Eastside Catholic High School seniors and juniors explored their options for the near future at their Career Day recently.

More than 50 speakers across as many industries, from accounting to fashion buying to veterinary science addressed the student group, giving them the benefit of their own personal experiences on what to expect from each industry and the best ways to get there.

With the global workplace undergoing a transformation, economically, socially, environmentally and technologically, today’s students have much to consider.

And though the impacts of the current economic crisis are still being evaluated, already they are changing the way young people are looking at certain industries, and prioritizing what they want from their jobs of the future.

For example, employment analysts are predicting a shrinking of the private sector, as the new administration seeks to expand the government’s role in mass transit, alternative energy, regulation of financial markets, and education.

It is anticipated that private-sector employment will become less desirable to new graduates as companies tighten their belts further to respond to increasing global competition.

Careers in biotechnology, research into clean-energy, and environmental engineering are all expected to attract more graduates in coming years, as is health care, which has shown itself to be recession-proof, and at present is struggling from a lack of trained professionals.

One of the keynote speakers at the Career Day was Career Counselor Robin Ryan, who years ago started the first college counseling program at Eastside Catholic.

Ryan said that society was moving away from the provision of information toward more conceptual, creative abilities.

“There is a growing interest in how we can design better systems, and how we can use creative ideas to improve existing processes and invent new ones,” she said.

She implored students to consider the talents they were displaying now, and to help their friends consider their talents, as these were the very things upon which they should be basing career choices.

In the week following Career Day, teachers considered the comments of their students, and found that teenagers were interested in “specializing in passions.”

“Kids have seen parents with business degrees who aren’t that happy in their jobs,” was one comment. “Arts and music are more appealing, and seem more viable than before. They are looking for jobs with room for creativity,” was another. Some students said they would explore career ideas in college, and were not deciding at this early stage what they want to do.

For more from Eastside Catholic’s Career Day, check out this story on senior Evan Fowler.


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