Giving Compass' Take:

· According to Education Dive, more middle schools are beginning to expose students to tools they will encounter in the workplace to help prepare them for future careers.

· Is middle school too early to expose students to career and technical education? What are the benefits of these new labs? 

· Read more about starting career education in middle school.

If a student is expected to select a career cluster path by the time they are in 8th grade, it makes sense to start exposing 6th-graders to all the potential career options available. But how young should this begin?

Some districts, including Kankakee School District in Illinois, are dipping career options information sticks all the way down into the pre-K level. Superintendent Genevra Walters wrote in DefinedSTEM that research shows the earlier a student is exposed to careers, the sooner they will begin seeing themselves working in those fields. It makes sense, given that young children often want to be the most high-profile professions they can imagine when they grow up, such as firefighter, policeman or doctor.

On the other hand, some believe there is a such a thing as being "too young" when it comes to career pathway discussions. Making the point that most adults will spend 50 years in a career, expecting a 17-year-old to fully understand the repercussions of selecting a career at this age is potentially unrealistic.

But in Austria and Germany, for example, students as young as 10 are already set on certain career paths. One of the arguments in favor of putting young students on career pathways so early is that it's more efficient for remedial students to learn a trade than to be expected to take advanced classes and expensive tests. It also may prevent students from being discouraged in school because they aren’t being asked to perform above their intellectual level.

Read the full article about career and technical education by Shawna De La Rosa at Education Dive.