When studies show nearly half of all students look to their parents for guidance with careers, it’s no surprise that over half of all parents feel inadequate when it comes to helping their child make career-related decisions. If you have ever felt overwhelmed in guiding your child’s next steps before, during or after high school – you are not alone!

Helping to prepare your child for his or her future in this thing we call the 21st Century is vastly different from even 10 years ago. You know what you know, and do what you do for a living – but how do you help your child foster their own unique strengths so they can prepare for a rapidly changing world of work (let alone for jobs that don’t even exist yet!)?

Understanding your child’s skills, interests, abilities, and the needs of the labor market is a great place to start. Consider these statistics forecasting the need for skilled workers in the near future:


Technological capabilities, math skills and problem-solving techniques are now more important than ever whether your child chooses to begin a career or pursue a college degree after high school.

Our economy is growing, and the need for skilled workers who are prepared to enter careers in Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology is critical.

Pathways will help your child gain the skills, knowledge and experience needed to qualify for thousands of new, great-paying careers through certificate programs available right here in Southeast Tennessee.


Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology pathways are open to all students in the Pathway districts of Bradley, Cleveland City, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn and Meigs Counties.

By working with their school counselor to incorporate these specialized courses into their schedules, your child will have the opportunity to create a program that meets his or her interests and career goals.

Students will begin career exploration in middle school with the help of school counselors. Once in high school, your child will have the opportunity to choose a specific pathway and have access to field trips, job shadows, possible internships, and real-world, hands-on learning experiences in and out of the classroom. Your child’s school counselor can help guide them into coursework and various experiences in one of the pathways.


1. UTILIZE CAREER PROFILES. Utilize your child’s ORG profile to access his or her career assessment inventory. No profile? Setting one up is fast and easy, and stays with your child wherever they go.

2. GET TALKING! Geared toward a technical career? Utilize this Career Discussion Starter and/or Career Guide to gain insight about your child’s skills or interests aligning with careers in manufacturing.

3. MAKE A PLAN. Talk with your child’s school counselor about signing up for a career pathway. Reference the Pathways Tool Kits below for information about course sequences, post-secondary partners, and examples of careers and salary ranges to discuss with your child.

4. REAL WORLD EXPERIENCES Nothing beats first-hand experience! Your Pathways Education Liaison or Career Coach is well connected in the business community and has coordinated numerous field trips, job shadows and perhaps a few internships with local industries. Ask how they can help you or a student get connected!

Click to download information on any of the pathways offered in Southeast Tennessee which includes a course sequence guide, list of post-high school partners, positions in each field and salary ranges.

Other Resources for Parents

Tennessee Promise: Seniors may apply for the Tennessee Promise scholarship, which will provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee.

Drive to 55: Governor Haslam has challenged our state with a critical new mission: the Drive to 55 – the Drive to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025.

ACT Workkeys Testing: WorkKeys measures skills such as reading, math, listening, locating information, and teamwork—skills that employers feel are critical to job success. Students and job applicants who take the WorkKeys tests have a clear way to demonstrate their abilities to employers.

Southeast Tennessee Career Center: Tennessee has a network of centers across the state where employers can go to find workers they need and job seekers can get career information and services. Each center offers computerized labor market information, Internet access, workshops, an on-line talent bank, job placement, recruitment and training.

TN Dept. of Economic and Community Development: Why manufacturing matters in the state of Tennessee!

Career One Stop: Provides employment information and inspiration with tools to help job seekers, students, businesses and career professionals.

NBC News Article: Helping Teens Choose a Career Path – Some parents get kids career counseling to help them find a focus.

Qualifax: The Parent’s Role in Career Selection – How important is the role of the parent in the career guidance process?