fbpx

Trisha Oksner is a career center technician for two schools in the Lucia Mar Unified School District in California. Nipomo High is a Title 1 school with close to 900 students. And Central Coast New Tech High is a project-based public tech school that serves the surrounding cities with close to 300 students. Both schools share resources, but are housed on separate campuses.

Trisha specializes in helping students from both schools with college, career, and community readiness, “I work on college applications, scholarships, career planning and all that those entail.”

After being introduced to the YouScience Platform, Trisha discovered just how critical aptitudes — the natural abilities to learn or perform in given areas — and certifications are for career prep for high school students.

What was lacking in career prep for high school students?

Before purchasing YouScience, Lucia Mar Unified School District used general interest inventories for career guidance. Interest-only inventories focus solely on students’ self-reported interests to guide them towards careers.

With interest-only based inventories, oftentimes, students are only shown occupations they’ve already been exposed to. They choose career pathways based on their environment and experience, for example, what their parents, siblings or people close to them do. That can be misleading because interests (and experience) don’t translate to ability. Too many students lack the aptitudes to do the jobs they’re interested in, but have them for jobs they haven’t been exposed to.

Case in point: a major factor influencing career guidance in the Lucia Mar Unified School District is California’s state agriculture program. As part of the program, some students begin preparing for agricultural careers as early as kindergarten. And because of the agriculture prevalence in the area, these students never think to look outside the agriculture industry for career options.

Basing career choices on interest alone can waste time, money, energy and success in the long run. Lack of career exposure is one problem. Not knowing how aptitudes relate to best-fit careers is another.

Validating career choices through YouScience Discovery

Career prep has transformed for the Lucia Mar Unified School District since it implemented the YouScience Platform. That means using more than interest-only based inventories for career guidance.

Now, students uncover their aptitudes with YouScience Discovery — an aptitude-based career guidance assessment that matches students to best-fit careers that align with their natural talents as well as their interests.

Trisha said, “When I started my job, I learned about general interest inventories. The same ones that are used across the board where they find out what a student is interested in. Are you interested in building kitchen cabinets? Are you interested in learning about meteorology? Are you interested in…. And they do the 60 questions and then it comes up with careers. So I thought, ok, I’m doing my job. I’m giving these interest inventories.

“Then I learned about YouScience and thought, that’s good. I had a kid who came to me before YouScience who desperately wanted to be a brain surgeon. And when we sat down, he said, ‘I’m really not good at math or science.’ And that’s my benchmark example of saying, ‘You like to do something but that doesn’t mean you’re any good at it.’ It’s where interest meets aptitudes to help map out a future.”

The district first chose YouScience Discovery to help with career guidance for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. But it soon realized that it needed to make Discovery available to all students, “Originally that’s how the district invested, to help our CTE students with the realization that every student can benefit and needs to benefit from understanding where their interests and aptitudes meet,” Trisha shared.

“Originally that’s how the district invested, to help our CTE students with the realization that every student can benefit — needs to benefit from understanding where their interest and aptitudes meet.”
— Trisha Oksner, career center technician, Nipomo High and Central Coast New Tech High, California

The district also provides certification options with Precision Exams by YouScience. As part of the YouScience Platform, Precision Exams by YouScience gives educators access to more than 200 industry-recognized career certification exams.

The YouScience Platform delivers aptitude-based career guidance for career prep

A student knowing their aptitudes is important for career guidance because it shows students what they’re capable of. The YouScience Platform’s aptitude-based guidance exposes students to career options they may have never considered. Career options they are naturally wired to be successful at and find satisfaction in doing.

One mom reached out and asked Trisha to meet with her son. He had a 4.4 GPA, was a scholar athlete, and taking all AP and honor classes. But he’d lost his motivation.

Trisha said, “I don’t know if he did it [Discovery] a while before or didn’t have an interpretation of the results that was helpful enough. But we sat down and radiologist came up [in his career matches] and we started researching radiology and talking about a career in radiology tech and he was interested. Then we talked about radiology as an MD program, and that kid was so fired up in a way that he hadn’t been fired up and he walked out of here like, ‘I’m going to med school. I’m going to be a radiologist.’ And I got the chills.”

“Then we talked about radiology as an MD program and that kid was so fired up in a way that he hadn’t been fired up and he walked out of here like, ‘I’m going to med school. I’m going to be a radiologist.’ And I got the chills. It was cool.” 
— Trisha Oksner, career center technician, Nipomo High and Central Coast New Tech High, California

Once students are aware of career options that suit their natural talents they can map out pathways and begin earning certifications in high school that prepare them for future jobs.

And for the students at Nipomo High and Central Coast New Tech High, seeing how their aptitudes and interests relate to different careers pushes them to explore possibilities and gets them excited about their future. According to Trisha, a lot of the seniors find their Discovery results “scary accurate.”

Trisha sums it up by saying, “I took a class this summer through UCI [University of California, Irvine] on independent educational consulting to do college and career counseling. And they said YouScience is the benchmark standard. So the fact that my district invested in it already was a point of pride. We’re already doing the benchmark standard. That was a cool feeling.”

Download a PDF of this case study.

 

Connect students to their best-fit pathways, careers, and post-secondary opportunities. 

To learn more about YouScience and how this unique platform is changing students’ lives, connect with one of our regional directors. 

LET'S MEET»