When I Grow Up: Helping Young Adults Explore Careers Collaboratively

Louie Montoya

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question you probably heard often throughout your youth, and a question you are just as likely to ask young people you encounter today. The conversation around career exploration and discovery, however, seems to end with that question. The rest is often left for young people to figure out on their own, with little input from the people who matter most to them. Strangely, career discovery is a journey young people are expected to take alone.

Given this insight, the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) Student Experience Lab has developed a new model that helps young adults transition from high school into higher education and careers. Using human-centered research to understand the challenges and opportunities facing youth ages 13-21, we developed a reality show series called When I Grow Up (WIGU), which follows several young adults who each get a chance to try out their dream jobs for a day. We are also designing and prototyping a website and social media channels around the series, with the goal of helping young adults think about how they might apply their skills and passions to “try-on” careers before they select them.

You can take a look at the prototype of the platform, which includes resources and career challenges that young adults can use to interact with their peers via social media, to link their interests and passions to possible careers. While we are still in the experimentation phase and this prototype is not yet a live platform, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the question “what are you going to be when you grow up?” is followed by a rich discussion and exploration. We hope you can put these resources to use in helping your students prepare for their future by exploring their career options — and have fun while doing it!



About “GenDIY”
Young people are taking control of their own pathway to careers, college and contribution. Powered by digital learning, “GenDIY” is combatting unemployment and the rising costs of earning a degree by seeking alternative pathways to find or create jobs they love. Follow their stories here and on Twitter at #GenDIY. For more on GenDIY check out:

Louie Montoya, BIF Student Experience Lab Associate. Follow Louie on Twitter, @learninglouie.

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