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Through our supportive consortium membership and Middle School Career Interest Development Summit, CTECS brings forth a new way to cultivate and develop career interests in students transitioning from middle school to high school. Our standards, descriptors,  associated vocabulary exercises, and concise, problem-based learning activities allow students to apply social-emotional learning fundamentals as they begin to explore career possibilities. This is the crucial foundation that students will build upon throughout their professions and lives.

Introduces workplace language and behaviors

Teaches citizenship, equity, and global awareness

Unifies stakeholder communities: CTE, SEL, PBL, and academics

Key Links:

Level 1 Flyer

Course Outline

Sample Activity

Ordering Interest

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Please contact us to let us know if you are interested in ordering the curriculum or would just like more information on the resource.

Standards & Descriptors

1. Self-Awareness: a confident learner who can assess current and potential interests and talents

independent, self-reliant, mindful, self-regulated, balanced, health-, safety- and wellness-aware, culturally-aware, self-managed, self-advocating


2. Creativity: an explorer

curious, imaginative, inventive, confident, innovative, divergent, resourceful 


3. Problem Solving: a critical investigator, a strategic searcher and evidence gatherer

logical, informed, analytical, discerning, flexible, adaptable, decisive


4. Honesty and Ethics: a moral person with integrity

fair, equitable, helpful, dependable, accountable, inclusive, courageous, trustworthy, principled, reflective

5. Motivation: a goal setter who demonstrates self-efficacy

disciplined, positive, confident, self-determined, resilient, collaborative, competitive, driven, focused, intentional, purposeful


6. Communication: a team and relationship builder, a conflict manager, a considerate social media participant

clear, organized, articulate, considerate, empathetic, persuasive, audience-aware, self-representational, information and media literate


7. Career Exploration: an experiential learner, an explorer of potential talents, career identity, and cultural expectations

career-minded, career-connected, open to current and upcoming opportunities and pathways, pro-active


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social and emotional standards and values are a fundamental link between the adolescent and career choices, and yet these skills are not often taught in schools at this crucial stage in human development. If they are addressed, they are not often taught evenly or adequately. These are the traits that are most closely tied to identity and most useful in successfully determining a pathway to and through a career. SEL skills are always required, but learners must strengthen them throughout their lives.


Benefits include the promotion of career interest, especially in areas that students were not exposed to before. The middle school program also hopes to raise enrollment in secondary CTE programs and form a natural bridge between the stages of development. If middle school focuses on essential SEL standards and a macro-approach to career exploration, high school should add complexity to those SEL skills while drilling down into the technical training they need to prepare them successfully for the next step.


To support instruction, we offer modules through an easy to use learning management system. With a login and two clicks, you will be ready to deliver specific activities to your students. Further, plans are supported by extension activities, scaffolding, and a materials section that contains a summative teacher presentation file and any supporting documents such as handouts, student presentation files, and worksheets. Lastly, activity contents contain additional resources links and custom built vocabulary lists that students can complete on Quizlet. Activities were created with ease of use in mind. They should be infused into any classroom, regardless of discipline, to thoroughly enrich a student’s perspective of career exploration.

We also offer a great option for distance learning and self-directed learning. Contact us to find out more.

Age-Appropriate Activities

Perkins V legislation emphasizes the enhancement of CTE at the middle level. If implemented, this program would ensure Perkins funding requirements are easily and thoroughly met. The Level 1 curriculum cannot simply be a shadow of the high school programs. Different learners at different stages of their development require different strategies. Therefore, program standards and activities are meant to be infused or blended into existing curriculum or may stand alone. Each activity is kept brief, age-specific, and accessible, and offers multiple ways for instructors to pre- and post-evaluate, as well as for students to self-reflect on their learning. Through problem-based tasks, students will gain universal characteristics of effective employees and life-long learners regardless of career path. This program values awareness and exposure over competency or technical proficiency.

CTECS Mission

CTECS relies on its successful approach to workplace readiness skills instruction and assessment at the secondary level to inform its instructional resources at the middle school level.

CTECS provides industry-based resources and services for the improvement of career technical education and workforce development instruction, assessment, certification, and delivery.

Workplace Readiness Skills

Collaboration and Support

The Middle School Career Interest Development program represents the best theory and practice in the industry.

  • CTECS Board members and leadership
  • Middle School Career Interest Development Steering Committee and 2020 Summit
  • Research and key organizations that support the standards, including
    • CASEL–Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
    • The Wallace Foundation
    • ASCA–American School Counselors Association, Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success
    • NAPE–National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity
    • Advance CTE
    • ACTE–Association for Career and Technical Education

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