ERIC Identifier: ED273397
Publication Date: 1985-03-00
Author: Pitts, Ilse M.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools Las Cruces NM.

Career Education Counseling for Migrant Students.

The high mobility and concurrently high dropout rate among migrant students have attracted a great deal of attention, and a number of programs have been developed to make the educational process more compatible with lifestyles of migrant students. However, unless students participate in such programs, they have little meaning. This digest presents an overview of career education counseling and provides guidance to assist teachers, counselors, and administrators in incorporating it into their curricula.


Although special consideration must be given to the factors of high mobility and dropout rate that characterize the migrant student population, career education itself is essentially the same for all students. The guiding principle for all should be to prepare students for life in the working world. To this end, career education counseling incorporates three major elements: career exposure, work preparation, and basic skill development.


Career exposure seeks to promote self-awareness, to provide job and role information, and to teach decision-making and goal attaining skills.

Self-awareness activities consider the values, talents, and desires of the student and include close self-examination of the student's own physical, emotional, and mental being. The most effective career decisions will be based on knowledge of special talents and limitations. All youth should understand that each person is an individual with unique abilities and unique opportunities to share them. Self-awareness can be encouraged not only in specific self-awareness sessions in a formal career education program but also in learning experiences in all areas of school life.

Information on jobs and roles is an important part of career development. It may include the skills and tasks, tools and equipment, training and formal education, and placement and advancement opportunities for various occupations. Job and role awareness ensures that students will make occupational choices based on true and complete rather than false or inadequate information.

Decision-making and goal-attaining activities provide a structure for reaching goals by making decisions and following through with sequential activities which ultimately lead to goal attainment. Thus, students are guided through processes in which they formulate their goals in tangible terms; investigate available resources; consider all options and probable outcomes; make a decision; plan, act or review their progress; and ultimately reach their goals.


For the most part, migrant youth know one type of work--migrant agricultural labor. They must be made aware that there are other options. Therefore, all students should be provided not only with written information but also with direct experience in a variety of occupations through interview, shadowing, and work experience programs.

The student prepares for the interview by first reading about an occupation and then talking to professionals in that occupation. Shadowing provides the student with the opportunity to follow a professional in his or her work activities for several days. The work experience component allows the student to spend a number of weeks or months working alongside a professional. The student is paid for the time involved and the work performed. Thus, the student can participate in a new work experience while building basic skills and discussing career issues with a counselor or teacher. Such a setting also provides practice in employment interviewing, resume writing, and other work preparation activities.


For youth who have left school prior to graduation, as do many migrant students, career education counseling must be accompanied by programs which provide training in basic literacy, English as a second language (when needed), and content area studies. Following is a brief description of some existing programs.

1. Adult Basic Education (ABE) is for those who have left school and need basic literacy, second-language training, and/or basic mathematical skills.

2. General Equivalency Diploma (GED) programs are for those who have the basic skills but lack a high school diploma.

3. Giving Rural Adults a Study Program (GRASP) is a method by which adults who cannot participate in a traditional daytime schedule of studies may still be able to participate in an ABE or GED program. GRASP programs may use the rural library or the post office system to deliver units of study which the student completes at home. Friends or neighbors may be used as tutors. (For further information, contact Andrea May at the New Paltz Migrant Tutorial Outreach Program, P.O. Box 2509, New Paltz, NY 12561.)

4. Portable Assisted Study Sequence (PASS) programs began in California as an option for the migrant student who did not wish to leave school but who encountered severe difficulties in completing the course credits due to frequent moves. PASS provides units which may be completed independently or with the help of a tutor. Upon completion of a given course of study, high school credit is issued by the PASS sponsoring school. (For more information, contact the Coordinator, PASS Program, Fresno County Department of Education, 2314 Mariposa Street, Fresno, CA 93721.)


Programs which promote self-awareness, provide job and role information, and encourage the development of decision-making skills beginning as early as kindergarten prove beneficial. As the students progress through high school, interviewing, shadowing, and work experience programs can be added. Often these activities serve to demonstrate the usefulness of remaining in high school to prepare for productive roles in the world of work.


Because of continuing mobility, migrant youth often do not participate in such community activities as scouting, church, and city-sponsored youth groups. Therefore, the advantages provided by such groups should be included in a migrant career education counseling program. Also, both ABE and GED programs must be made available in a non-traditional and creative manner to accommodate the transient lifestyle of migrant youth. Career education must be approached through short units which can be completed in limited periods of time. The alternative programs described above and others have been developed to mediate the effect of the high dropout rate among migrant, as well as other, students.


Those tutors or teachers who are most often in contact with the migrant in-school youth must be prepared to support such students with career information and guidance, preferably incorporated into language arts and content area studies. The teacher, tutor, and/or student can benefit form the support of a trained career education counselor, who should be responsible for reviewing currently available programs and training the tutor and teacher to work with the student. Counseling of secondary school students and those no longer in school is also an important part of the counselor's role. Community professionals and workers can help by speaking to groups of students. They can also bring reality to career education by participating directly in interviewing, shadowing, and work experience projects. This community support has the side effect of promoting greater community understanding of the unique qualities and attributes of migrant youth and families.


Following is a list of some current migrant career education programs and contact persons:

1. CHOICE (Changing Options in Career Education) Margaret Taylor, Project Director P.O. Box 250 New Paltz, NY 12561

2. MAP (Migrant Awareness Program) Shirley Holder 305 W. Hanson Street Hammond, LA 70401

3. MAP-S (Model Appraisal Process-Secondary) Darlene M. Mincy, Program Specialist Migrant Education Program Division of Compensatory/Bilingual Education New Jersey State Dept. of Education, CN 500 Trenton, NJ 08625

4. Minnesota Career Education Materials Diana Mathews, Specialist Minnesota Department of Education Capitol Square 550 Cedar Street Saint Paul, MN 55101

5. High School Equivalency Program Joseph Bertoglio Compensatory Education Program Office of Elementary and Secondary Education U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W. ashington, DC 20202


Flores, Merced. A RESOURCE GUIDE ON SOCIAL SCIENCE CAREERS. Salem, OR: Oregon Migrant Education Service Center, July, 1980. ED 197 867.

Hamar, Rosalind, and Andrea Hunter. CHOICES FOR MIGRANT YOUTH: IDEAS FOR ACTION IN EDUCATION AND WORK. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, September, 1983. ED 239 801.

Kissam, Edward, and Penelope L. Richardson. Y. E. S., INC. GUIDEBOOK: A YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SKILLS MEDIA AND OUTREACH PROJECT. Los Angeles, CA: KCET-TV, 1983. ED 240 479.

New York State Education Department, Bureau of Pupil Services. IDEAS THAT WORK: A COMPENDIUM OF GUIDANCE PROGRAM PRACTICES K-12. Albany, NY: State Department of Education, 1984. ED 247 512.

Orum, Lori S. CAREER INFORMATION AND HISPANIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. Washington, DC: National Council of La Raza, September, 1982. ED 238 650.

Pendergrass, John, Nancy Carter, and Marcia Douglas. IDEA BOOK: MEETING THE OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION NEEDS OF DISADVANTAGED YOUTH. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1981. ED 237 595.

Worthington, Robert M. THE FUTURE ROLE OF VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE: A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. Washington, DC: Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Education, September, 1983. ED 240 315.

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