At Downey Unified, we take pride in all our students and their unique interests and abilities. Not only do we help our students prepare for their next level of education, but we also ensure that they are given the resources and opportunities to be both college and career-ready and able to pursue their desired futures beyond academics.

As students get older and begin to develop stronger interests in particular subjects and recognize their strengths and abilities, they can explore different potential career options that are more aligned with their desires and skill sets. However, at Downey Unified, we don’t wait until students are in high school to start providing them with resources regarding future career opportunities.

It may seem like younger students are focused on many things that have nothing to do with careers, but encouraging them to think about future paths they can take is more important than one might realize. Through robotics and coding at the elementary level and Career Education programs at the middle school level, students can begin to understand different career options that may interest them. Our teachers and counselors can better guide them to narrow down their interests, their current strengths, and what skills they desire to build upon and improve over time.

When providing such information to elementary students, career exploration should spark curiosity, showcase career opportunities, and foster self-awareness. Students should be able to learn more about themselves and discover why it’s important for them to decide what kind of professions would be best suited for them. 

Starting in middle school, students have ample opportunities to explore their interests. Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways and programs allow Downey Unified students to start their potential career journeys as part of a standard school day. At the high school level, various pathway options are available for students, and the coursework provided during the school day may simultaneously include classes required to enroll at colleges and universities. Additionally, specific courses are offered to help students begin expanding their professional networks and honing their skills while having the necessary support and resources within the school setting. This is the time for students to embrace their interests and passions to help them decide what path they want to pursue.

To learn more about the over 20 CTE pathways offered in Downey Unified, visit our CTE website.