Georgia 9th Graders to Begin Preparing for College and Career Pathways

How many times do some college students change their majors? Once? Twice? More? Choosing the career one wants to pursue is an often difficult, even agonizing, decision, marked by trial and error, changing priorities, and life experiences. That helps explain why it's not uncommon for postsecondary education students to change their career choices mid-stream. Georgia, however, will start expecting students as early as the ninth grade to choose a career path and begin preparing for it in high school.

Starting next fall, public school students will pick a potential job to pursue in one of 17 broad career categories, known as career pathway clusters. The classes they take will reflect, at least partially, their choices.

South Carolina implemented a similar program five years ago, according to a published report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper reports the objective is to raise career and college readiness for all students. Career pathways initiatives of some degree are already in place in most states. But next fall will be the first time that they become a mandate for all Georgia ninth graders.

The career pathways initiative in Georgia is a component of HB186, enacted by the Georgia legislature. It creates a requirement that all students entering high school in fall 2012 have a career pathway. In announcing the plan November 30, Georgia Education Superintendent John Barge described the initiative as a plan to join academic and career/technical education for high school students. "We can no longer have these two separate worlds," ne noted.

"It's an organizational model to ensure students are taking the appropriate coursework to prepare them for postsecondary success," Barge added. The 17 pathways include 16 that are nationally recognized career and technical pathways and adds one other, energy. The remaining 16 pathways are:

1). Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

2). A/V Technology and Communications

3). Architecture and Construction

4). Business, Management and Administration

5).Education and Training

6). Finance

7). Government and Public Administration

8). Health Science

9). Hospitality and Tourism

10). Human Services

11). Information Technology

12). Manufacturing

13). Marketing, Sales and Service

14). Public Safety and Security

15). Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

16.) Transportation, Distribution and Logistics