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Connection Corner

Helping kids make career connections

two adults working with a child on a computer

Have you ever been to a preschool graduation? They’re adorable! Especially ones where the tiny graduates are asked what they want to be when they grow up. You tend to hear lots of similar responses like “teacher,” “firefighter,” “mom,” or “Batman!” This question is a fun way to get a tiny glimpse into each child’s personality. However, it can also show how young people are often interested in pursuing careers that they’re familiar with. At this young age, students may have limited exposed to a wide array of professions, so their responses are often clustered around the few jobs they’ve seen.

As they grow, many young people continue to pursue those careers that are most familiar to them. As their exposure to new professions widens, so do their perceptions of what’s possible. That’s one of the many reasons to introduce young people to as many different opportunities as possible, and to show them examples of adult professionals with whom they can identify.

November is National Career Development Month – so what better time to start helping kids make career connections? Why not take some time this month to help a young person in your life explore possibilities for their future? It’s never too early to start!

Career exploration resources

Not sure where to begin? Check out this list of ideas from the National Career Development Association. It’s got amazing and easy-to-implement activities for every age! Then, check out some of the great resources below!

Help kids see all the opportunities out there with books and videos featuring professionals in a wide variety of fields. Evan at a young age, children can benefit from seeing the huge array of possibilities.  Remember, representation matters, so be sure to seek out diversity as you explore.

Learn more about careers

Have a career in mind? Use these resources to learn more about it. They let you gather details about  specific jobs, including day-to-day tasks and activities, skills and training required, wages, and employment trends. Some even have skill and interest assessments, videos about specific jobs.

Make a plan

Once you have a career in mind, it’s time to make a plan! Help the young people in your life set and reach goals with these goal management strategies.

Find even more resources at:


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.  

She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.    

When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.  


Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.