MyCareerShines, powered by Kuder®  is funded by the state of Florida and offered at no cost to students in grades six through 12, postsecondary students, and adults throughout the state. In today’s post, Maggie Miller, lead MyCareerShines trainer for Kuder, recounts a recent trip to Seminole County Public Schools, where she met with students participating in an innovative program designed to improve the graduation and achievement rates of minority students.

It was an honor to spend two days with Young Men & Women of Excellence.

As the lead trainer for MyCareerShines, Florida’s education and career planning system, I train all over the state of Florida with counselors, teachers, and administrators in the implementation of the online platform. Once in a great while I have the pleasure of training teachers and counselors within their classrooms with students. One of my most memorable experiences took place earlier this month in Seminole County. I was invited to work with students in five high schools by Robert Guy, coordinator for the Young Men & Women of Excellence for the district.

The mission of Young Men & Women of Excellence is to close the achievement gap by providing minority male and female students with skills, experiences, and support that empower students to reach their full potential. Participants meet regularly as part of an elective course, which counts toward graduation. Alternative offsite enhancement activities are scheduled to provide additional learning experiences for participants. The areas of focus are academic achievement, leadership development, community service, and financial literacy.

florida seminole county kuder students

Goal #1: engage students in strategic planning for their postsecondary education.

On my two-day tour, I visited Lake Mary High School, Winter Springs High School, Lyman High School, Seminole High School, and Lake Howell High School. The goal was to engage students in strategic planning for their postsecondary education. I led students through MyCareerShines, discussed the three career assessments it contains, and showed them how to interpret their results.

Students learned how research occupations by their assessment results, search and apply for scholarships, build a resume, and manage their online portfolio. These inspiring students and their equally inspiring teachers and paraprofessionals quickly realized the power of MyCareerShines in helping their students dream big and plan accordingly. What a delight to witness students so engaged in being accountable in planning for their postsecondary transitions, whether it includes technical education, college, military, or the workforce.

The future looks bright!

In one session, a young football star at Lyman High School literally ran out of the classroom thanking us and exclaiming that he was going home to spend three hours to apply for scholarships!

Denalya, a 12 grader, had this to say:

MyCareerShines is an amazing thing to look into – it’s a website where you can get free scholarships and build a resume that you can use for the rest of your life. This website is really helpful and good way to help you when you graduate from high school. When I started my senior year I always wanted to know how I can easily get a scholarship to help me with college and now I found the right website to do that! Thank you again, Mrs. Maggie Miller, for coming to talk to our school.

Apollonia, also a 12th grader, said,

I really appreciate that we have the tools such as MyCareerShines to help me and many other students with their future. I always wondered how would I know where to go to apply for scholarships or where do I even start. This program has made it clear as day and easy to understand. I can apply for a number of scholarships at one place. I can even create a resume on the same website. This is a tool that will really benefit me throughout my senior and I am grateful that I was able to be taught how to use it.

It’s always a treat to engage with direct users of MyCareerShines, but these two days will be etched In my memory and on my heart forever. The future is very bright for the Young Men & Women of Excellence students as they transition from high school to their next journey, then on to become future leaders!