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Utah students figuring out potential career paths while still in high school

Posted at 7:01 AM, Oct 03, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — What do you want to be when you grow up? It's an intimidating question and with the rising costs of college, there's a lot of pressure on young people to figure out their careers as soon as possible.

As student loan payments resume, parents and future college students want to be more certain about whether they should go to college.

At the Jordan School District, a partnership with "YouScience" is allowing students to figure out how their skills can transfer to a career.

YouScience uses aptitude testing to focus on what natural talents a student has and then recommends the best career path.

“It’s not just about the math and the sciences and the language arts," explained Brenda Straley, a career educator in the district. "Because what I know is that kids are good in a lot of different areas and they need to have the opportunity to explore those.”

Antje Altamirano, a senior at Bingham High School, explained the test made her excited for her future.

“It opened some doors," she explained. "It made me feel good about myself, I was like; ‘Wow, I am a team player!'"

The theme of empowerment was common among students taking advantage of the partnership, with senior Makena Jeske saying she felt confident in her future.

“It gave me so much more confidence in what I wanted to be because it said a lot," she reflected. "Secondary teaching and I want to go into high school so it was very, almost validating and comforting.”

When students have an idea of what they want to do before they begin college, it saves time, money and effort in the long run.

“When I can see my students develop a sense of themselves and begin to search out where they want to go in life," Straley explained. "Because that is a beautiful thing to figure out what you don’t want to do and what you do want to do.”

Other skills taught in Straley's class include how to build resumes, learning about colleges and trade opportunities and more. The entire focus of the class is to get students ready for their futures.