College & Career Lab is guided by an array of educational and equity research highlighting best practices to support students most impacted by systemic inequities and to ensure future economic mobility and success. Through our model, students learn to capitalize on their interests and lived experiences while developing essential skills to explore careers they never considered in order to effectively navigate barriers to college and post secondary opportunities. Programmatic and curricular elements of the College & Career Lab have been informed by this research and implemented to maximize success for our student population.
Revealing the Entire Academic and Career Landscape
An abundance of scientific research has shown that preparing marginalized youth for successful careers must begin as early as possible, as “restricted patterns of career aspirations” often begin as early as middle school for low income youth.
Research shows that while marginalized youth have high academic aspirations, they are often unaware of the breadth of careers available to them and, as a result, often aspire to a limited array of occupations
Navigating Post Secondary Pathways and Gaining Social Capital
Upon reflection, students note, they often do not ‘see’ themselves in certain careers due to lack of access to professionals from similar background, and closely adhere to the notion of ‘career myths,’ thus internalizing the belief that certain careers are only meant for people from specific racial and SES groups
By helping low income youth of color to navigate career trajectories their academic achievement increases as many youth do not see the value or purpose of applying themselves educationally if they do not see a career at the end of it.
Providing Sustained Support through Advisors, Mentors and Role Models
Research shows the importance of mentors and role models in the development and success of youth, particularly for youth of color, as they often have very limited access to working role models
Additionally, having access to role models increases students’ sense of career self-efficacy
STUDENT-CENTERED AND IDENTITY-BASED
Each component of the curriculum has been intentionally designed to help students effectively develop concrete pathways to educational and career success, all the while centering their passions, interests, and their identities to guide them.
Through a rigorous and equity-based curriculum, students gain an intimate understanding of their personal passions and explore all possible educational and career pathways while acquiring the many resources they need, and are often excluded from, to succeed.
Ultimately, we guide students by helping them understand:
• What can you study to pursue this passion?
• What careers can you go into within this passion?
• How might your identity shape your educational and career pathway?
The curriculum is deeply rooted in notions of identity development to help students not only understand their own personal identities and backgrounds, but to understand how these identities can help shape their trajectories, and to do so through self-empowerment and agency.