Middle Years to Careers

Research shows the middle school years are the most appropriate time for students to start engaging in self- and career-exploration. At the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center, we recognize the impact that families, schools, and community partners have on students’ career development. Our goal is to provide valuable information, tools, and resources that can assist all stakeholders as they support students in their career journey.

Research Brief

The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center created this brief for school personnel who contribute to the career development of middle school students, grades 6 through 8. The family engagement strategies and tips contained in this brief can contribute to successful career outcomes of students.


Family and Student Activity Guides for Schools

The three guides below contain specific examples of how you can connect with families and students about: 1) career-related self-awareness activities they can try out during middle school, 2) exploring a wide range of careers, and 3) community resources such as job shadowing opportunities. There is room to take notes about how you will try out something new this school year. Click each guide to view/download.

Middle Years to Careers Guide 1 for schools, Promoting Student Self-Awareness
Guide 1
Middle Years to Careers Guide 2 for schools, Promoting Career Exploration
Guide 2
Middle Years to Careers Guide 3 for schools, Promoting Community Partnerships
Guide 3

Career Conversation Starters for Middle School Families

Our goal is to make talking about careers low-pressure and enjoyable! Parents/caregivers to a middle schooler are the biggest influence on their child’s career development. Middle school is the best time for their child to explore their strengths and interests and to learn about how those can relate to careers. The series of conversation starters below were designed for families to use any time of day: in the car, at the dinner table, or any time that is convenient. By asking their child questions in these three areas of career development, families can help middle schoolers begin to think about the future!

1. Exploring Interests and Strengths
2. Exploring Careers
3. Exploring Community Resources


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