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Linda Mah
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KC Helps Unveil New Online Career Tool

Pathfinder Helps Students, Others Explore Higher Ed and Careers

The skills gap is caused in part by a career awareness gap.

But a new online career exploration tool is designed to help the state overcome that awareness gap and help students, veterans and other job seekers match their skills and interests to the needs of employers and the post-secondary education opportunities in Michigan.

Officials stopped by Kalamazoo Central High School in December to unveil Pathfinder, the state’s new online career exploration tool, which KC students had the opportunity to test drive.

“As Gov. Snyder has said, our citizens must better understand that they have new career choices in Michigan today,” said Sammie Lukaskiewicz, deputy director of marketing for the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. “No other source exists with such rich Michigan-specific career planning data.”

Pathfinder can be found at It includes detailed job projec tions, annual openings, growth potential, salaries, and information on Michigan schools linked to those career options.

Lukaskiewicz said the state envisions the tool being used by students and parents, guidance and career counselors, and veterans seeking employment.

“It best matches users’ skills to career paths and to jobs,” she said.

Six Kalamazoo Central students gave the system a test run and spoke with the media about the online tool. The students were: seniors Darius Pruitt and Ryan Halloran, and juniors Terrence Bell, Jasmine Shea, Emalyn Dohner, and Leasia Posey.

Pruitt and Halloran said they think the new system could be very useful for middle school students and high school underclassmen.

Halloran, who will be attending University of Detroit Mercy in the fall to study sports management, said the system provides useful information about colleges and universities, and it would be a great tool to help students compare colleges on specifics such as cost and acceptance rates.

Pruitt, who will be attending Wayne State University and hopes to study physical therapy, said students should start using the system in middle school, so they can chart their path through high school and ensure that they have properly prepared for life after high school. The system provides valuable information about wages and which schools offer the majors a student might be interested in pursuing.

“We didn’t have anything like this when I was in middle school,” Pruitt said.

Also attending the event were State Rep. Jon Hoadley and State Sen. Margaret O’Brien. Hoadley said today’s economy demands more skilled and better trained workers, and Pathfinder will give people a dynamic way to explore career options, while O’Brien said the system can hopefully help veterans transition from military life to the civilian workforce.

Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice spoke about the district’s goal of expanding career exploration and awareness in upper elementary through high school. Already, the district participates in MICareerQuest Southwest, an interactive career fair with more growth planned in coming years.

“Pathfinder helps expand the exposure of our students to a greater breadth of careers than most would encounter otherwise,” Rice said. “In so doing, it gives students greater options for their lives. This is particularly important in school districts with high concentrations of working class and poor children with limited exposures in their communities. They need the broadest range of exposures at school, and Pathfinder helps in that regard.”

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