Mentorships are career exploration activities in which the student is matched with an adult professional in a chosen field of interest to explore careers, postsecondary education options, industry expectations, and career readiness skills. The career mentor serves as a resource by sharing insights and providing guidance about the workplace, careers and education. The mentors can help the student understand the required education for a given career as well as any requirements such as licenses, certifications, registrations or educational degrees.
Students benefit from regular contact with a knowledgeable and supportive adult mentor outside of the classroom and school environment. A mentor may visit the classroom, conduct interviews, and provide information related to the needs of the business or organization. The student may also visit the workplace and gain better understanding of the career in which the mentor is engaged and the related job duties and responsibilities. Career mentoring is a formal, long-term supportive relationship between a student and an individual more senior in age and experience with similar career interests.
The mentor serves as a good role model, but does not serve as a counselor for the student. Student with personal issues should be referred to the school counselor. Career mentoring can occur as a face-to-face activity or as an e-mentoring activity.
The mentoring relationship generally begins after the student has entered the ninth grade and has established a tentative career interest area. Mentors and students interact one-on-one as a mentor assists a student in developing a career plan to integrate knowledge, skills and abilities the student will need to achieve career goals. The mentor offers support, guidance, motivation and concrete assistance as the student enters new areas of career exploration and takes on important tasks to further career aspirations.
- Promotes exploration of a career area of interest for the student.
- Allows students to gain realistic perspectives on expectations in a job and or career area and the workplace requirements from an adult role model.
- Provides the flexibility to educate beyond traditional time, location and method constraints.
- Unites education and business to best meet career interests of an individual student.
- Increases self-confidence, self-worth, self-knowledge, interpersonal skills and knowledge in a career area.
- Supplements information that can be obtained through other work awareness and work exploration strategies.
- Provides an opportunity to develop students’ career readiness skills, including communicating effectively and appropriately (speaking, professional etiquette), personal responsibility, etc.
- Provides information on the industry, types of careers and occupations, knowledge and skills requirements and work processes in the actual work settings.
- Engages students in thinking intentionally about the importance of career development through conversations with the career mentor.
- Empowers setting long-term attainable goals.
- Develop a plan that includes a clear process for selecting prospective participants.
- Match students with career mentors based on career interest and personality.
- Develop a process to identify career mentors that demonstrate the ability to:
- Support the growth, skill and career development efforts of the student.
- Help the student explore options, values and career alternatives.
- Convey to the student a sense of caring and importance.
- Contribute to the student’s feeling of self-worth.
- Have a procedure in place to check the backgrounds of prospective career mentors.
- Work with students in the development of a portfolio that describes career interests, experiences, goals and other background information.
- Develop and provide written career mentorship agreement that includes:
- Expectations of a mentor and student.
- Length of the mentorship relationship.
- Number and location of the mentorship meetings.
- Description of the mentorship evaluation process.
- Signatures of mentor, student, parent and school representative.
- Allow the mentor and student to interview and select each other.
- Have the student and mentor set and communicate expectations that are assessed on a regular basis.
- Provide orientation activities for the participant and mentor prior to the beginning of the mentorship.
- Ensure participants are supervised by the local educational agency/institution.
- Develop an application and interview process for prospective students to provide a means for the instructor to meet and clarify mentorship goals.
- Require a mentorship training to prepare the student for the activity.
- Require students to keep a journal to record and reflect on discussions they had with their mentor. Journals may be graded as a part of the workplace experience program.
- Provide time for weekly meetings with classmates and instructors to share experiences and ensure student follow-through.
- Send thank-you notes to business and agencies for allowing their employees to participate in the program. Recognize individuals who volunteer as mentors.
- Contact local media to promote activities and to recognize businesses and agencies that participate.
- Mentoring should focus on career exploration, training and related education
- Mentoring should take place at the school, workplace or an approved outing.
- Mentors that participate in activities with students outside the workplace should be approved by the school administration and parents. A mentoring permission form should be used when setting up the mentoring relationship.
Prior to placement in a mentorship experience each LEA shall ensure that a Mentorship Training Agreement is secured. Parent signature on training agreement is required in order to participate in mentoring experience.
Students participating in Mentoring must:
- Students participating in a mentorship must be enrolled in career and technical education and seek a mentor in a career area of interest.
Credit may be awarded through regular classroom and laboratory grading.