What do Bill Gates and Julia Child have in common? They both built a successful career by pursuing their passions. But their paths didn’t look the same.
Julia Child, after years of bouncing from job to job, didn’t learn to cook until she was in her 30s. At 36, she began her schooling at the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. There, Child learned to work in a kitchen with other chefs while mastering complex recipes and advanced techniques.
Compare this to Bill Gates, who started programming at 13. When his school got its first computer, he “was hooked.” Gates taught himself the Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) and began programming games for his friends. By age 36—the same age Child was when she went to cooking school—Gates was already a billionaire.
What if Julia Child had started mastering the art of French cooking in high school? Or if Bill Gates hadn’t discovered programming until college? Their trajectories—and our world—would be drastically different. Career readiness education is a way for teens to get a jump start on their own career. Destinations Career Academy, K12’s full-time, online career readiness education program, helps students discover pathways for their passions and strengths to succeed. Through Destinations, students explore careers, learn skills for a modern workplace, and prepare for college, career, or both.
What is Career Readiness Education?
You may have heard of career readiness education, vo-tech, or any combination of career, vocation, technical, and education as a type of school. Whether it’s Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris or your local HVAC school, career readiness education prepares students for specific jobs. Many of these programs have been around for a long time. They rely on textbooks and classroom lectures to teach technical skills.The skills learned are often outdated and don’t provide relevant preparation for careers of the future.
That’s why we focus on the future. Destinations Career Academy takes a modern approach to career readiness education to give high school students a jump start on their career path.
Before her days as a famous television chef and cookbook author, Julia Child worked as a writer, marketer, and even a government intelligence official. Through Destinations Career Academy, we simulate those years of trial and error through guided exploration. Courses help students discover their strengths and interests while learning about modern careers.
Each student starts their career pathway with an exploration course like Information Technology (IT) Explorations or Careers in Criminal Justice. These project-based learning classes guide students through the jobs they would encounter in a modern career field. Through long-term projects, students gain an in-depth understanding of their strengths and how they may apply to a career. By exposing students to their career possibilities, they can start to map their passion to a high-demand, modern career. From Information Technology (IT) to Health and Human Services, there is no shortage of careers to explore at Destinations Career Academy.
Advice from Industry Professionals
From movies to restaurants, reviews matter. So why shouldn’t they with jobs as well? Students have the option to learn about a career with the insight of industry professionals. At Destinations, we use a platform called Nepris to facilitate these interactions. Through guest speaking engagements, students can hear directly from professionals to gain meaningful insights and perspectives to help them map a career path.
Before Bill Gates learned to program on his school’s computer, he had a teacher who supervised. Destinations students have the same opportunity to explore their passions, with the assistance of a moderator, through clubs! Clubs like DECA or Business Professionals of America allow Destinations students to form a community based on shared passions. Together, they discuss their ideas, talk through challenges, and build a network of peers.
Once a student uncovers their path, there’s no stopping them from diving head-first into their passions. Students can commit to a career pathway after they’ve explored a career field in its introductory course. These career-focused courses offer real-world learning experiences through project-based learning. Students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certificates and college credits to jumpstart their career or college education faster.
This is where we put the ‘readiness’ in career readiness education. Pathway courses teach the technical skills needed for a specific job. For instance, students in the Nursing Assisting pathway will learn skills like anatomy and patient care. Students in a pathway program get a head start on their future. They’ll have the qualifications and tools to embark on a high-demand career and have clarity in choosing a college degree, potentially saving time and money.
Virtual Job Placement
We all know a student who’s 13 going on 30. They’re organized, motivated, and continually talking about their goals. For these students who are eager to work or get ahead in college, we’ve partnered with Tallo to help them start. Tallo is a networking platform where students create a profile to showcase their talents. They can upload their school work, passion projects, and even their grades. These creative profiles can capture the attention of employers and colleges looking for their talent. These connections can lead to opportunities like internships or scholarships.
Modern Learning Experience
When Bill Gates learned the BASIC programming language, he may not have imagined it would transform education and the workplace forever. Just as programmers have moved on from BASIC as a coding language, modern learning has evolved too. K12 has been leading the charge in online education for more than 20 years. With this experience, we’ve developed a flexible, digital learning environment that helps students build the skills employers seek. This hands-on digital experience will help students thrive in future work situations.
For so many career fields, specialized focuses are the norm. IT support specialists work on one technical issue at a time; nurses focus on individual patients. Instead of absorbing information through a textbook or lecture, students learn by doing through project-based learning. Students complete projects to gain an in-depth understanding of these job functions and their daily tasks. By focusing on a goal-oriented task, students prepare to work in a modern career.
Instead of asking your student, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” give them the tools to find their answer. Destinations students gain the confidence to make informed, intentional choices for their path after high school.
Learn more about IT Career Readiness Education and K12’s innovative approach to empowering exploration.