The Career Resource Centre is an integral component of Laval High School's participation in the Stellar Schools Project. It is imperative that students make informed decisions about post-secondary institutions, student loans, scholarships, careers planning, and the labour market. The Stellar Schools Project will allow just this. Virtually all post-secondary institutions now have web sites that allow individuals to access databanks to research and compare entrance requirements, academic programs, tuition and living costs, and available services. Information about the Canada Student Loans Program is available through the Scholarships On-Line Program and various career assessment and planning tools are instantly available to enable students to make informed decisions. The electronic labour market exchange allows students to see to the future and determine what careers are up-and-coming.
Educational experts have long since recognized the need to infuse career exploration into students' academic programs. The Department of education has mandated that such information be incorporated into the regular curriculum (The Senior High School Program: New Directions for the 21st Century). It states, "Existing curricula will be reviewed and principles of career education will be infused into existing courses wherever appropriate. Career Education outcomes will be included in all new curriculum guides." By assimilating a Career Exploration Component into various high school courses students will be able to plug-in to the most up-to-date information and research on the labour market.
Laval High School believes in the philosophy that career exploration should be an integral component of any high school student's academic program. One of the major aims of secondary education is to prepare individuals for the post-secondary environment and consequently the labour market. Students equipped with current information are in a better position to make wise and informed decisions.
The Career Resource Centre and the Stellar Schools Project connects directly to all aspects of the curriculum. For students interested in a career in a particular subject area, e.g. Biology, the Career Resource Centre enables them to access information on what Biologists do, different types of Biologists, where to study to become a Biologist and job prospects for Biologists. For individuals interested in exploring careers not based on a particular subject, e.g. Health Care, the Career Resource Centre, after being linked to the Stellar Schools Project, will enable them to examine the myriad of careers available in health care, select appropriate high school courses to ensure acceptance into the program and develop an action plan. For students with no sense of what they wish to do, the Career Resource Centre will enable them to explore possibilities. From this research students can then obtain admission information, application forms, scholarship information, student loan information. Via in-house computer programs i.e. Choices, Discover, etc., students can complete assessment inventories and create profiles of their and aptitudes and connect them to the labour market. Through text and computer programs students can compare various post-secondary institutions as well as converse with representatives of these institutions via the Internet. This information and accessibility of personnel would not otherwise be available to high school students.
Subjects such as Career Education, Co-operative Education and Enterprise Education are particularly suited to combining information gathered by the Career Resource Centre and the Stellar Schools Project, however, most of the other subjects offered at the high school level can, and should, infuse career information and research. Research projects for Language courses can utilize the information gathered from the Career Resource Centre in a pratical manner with direct application to the individual's future. The Career Resource Centre and the Stellar Schools Project can enhance students' computer skills and further help them realize that we live in an age of technology where these skill are essential. For an example of such a curriculum link, see Appendix A: Using Information technology in Career planning (Career Education 3101).
By providing a separate site (Career Resource Centre) for career exploration activities, students do not have to wait until the Technology Centre is free. This allows the guidance counsellor to work with individuals in a private setting without disturbing entire classes. On the other hand, teachers wishing to avail of multi-site environment to conduct career research can do so. The Stellar Schools Internet connection will provide the students of Laval High School with the most up-to-date information available from a global perspective. Just a few of the thousands of potential sites include:
Because of the nature of career exploration it will be difficult to examine the relative impact of the Stellar Schools Project on the Career Resource Centre at Laval. A count of visitors to the Centre with a tally of those utilizing the Internet connections will provide feedback. Also, follow-up interviews with clients of the Centre will enable us to evaluate its viability.