How Naviance Helps Connect College & Career Success

October 31, 2017

By Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation

Observers of this blog and NCAN’s work know that thanks to the support of Strada Education Network, we have been exploring the connections between college and career success. Students not only need to access college, persist when they get there, and complete, but they should perform all of these activities with a purpose in mind. Activities like career explorationskill and interest inventories, and networking, among other information and experiences, are key to ensuring that students identify and connect to a career that fulfills them personally and professionally.

One resource that many NCAN members use to help their students connect college and career success is Naviance, a “comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness solution” from Hobsons that “helps districts and schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals, improving student outcomes and connecting learning to life.” I had the opportunity to discuss Naviance and its relationship with college and career success with Kim Oppelt, Education and Outreach Manager at Hobsons. Kim is a licensed school counselor who works on the Naviance marketing team. A transcript (lightly edited for clarity) of our email interview follows below.

What does Naviance by Hobsons see as the connection between college and career success?

Postsecondary education and experiences are a direct link to career success. However, postsecondary experiences are not the beginning of career success. Students need to start early by discovering who they are, what their strengths are, and what their interests are. From there, they can begin to investigate the avenue that will lead them to a meaningful career. That may involve graduate school, a four-year college, a two-year degree, or a certificate or endorsement.

What approach to career awareness/exploration does Naviance take? To what extent are you also making students aware of the educational requirements of the different careers they are exploring?

Naviance takes a holistic look at career awareness and exploration. The platform incorporates search tools starting at the career cluster level to help students identify general areas of interest. From there, we provide career and career cluster profiles that show students the education necessary for various careers, as well as career opportunities within clusters.

How was Naviance’s career success programming developed? Did you have any partners in that development?

The Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum offers a series of 15 lessons per grade level in grades 6-12. This online, interactive curriculum was designed with the input of school counselors, education experts, and Roadtrip Nation.

Have you done any research on the college and career outcomes of students who receive Naviance programming?

Two studies have highlighted the success of Naviance programming. The first is an initial study of the outcomes of the Naviance College and Career Curriculum pilot. The second is an independent study published in the Journal of College Access on the college application rates compared to the frequency and duration of Naviance usage.

“Soft” or non-cognitive skills are often viewed by members as difficult to teach to students in a systematic way. How does Naviance accomplish this, and how does Naviance see these skills as connected to career success?

Naviance recognizes that non-cognitive skills are an important component of creating future-ready students. Through tools such as our StrengthsExplorer and Roadtrip Nation Archive (a series of video interviews designed to help students choose career paths after listening to stories from leaders across hundreds of industries), we work with students to recognize their own strengths and to use non-cognitive skills in conjunction with academic skills to pave their future path. We also incorporate a number of non-cognitive lesson strands within the Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum to help students identify and develop the skills they need to succeed.

The Naviance website offers solutions for a number of parties and educational levels. How does career success programming on the Naviance platform vary between elementary, middle, and high school, and what are some takeaways for our members on those differences?

We currently offer career planning options for middle and high school students. At the middle school level, we offer broad assessments that match the reading level of students, including career assessments, interest inventories, and career cluster exploration. At the high school level, we offer more specific career and personality inventories. At both levels, we offer career searches and profiles, connections between careers and college majors, and the Roadtrip Nation Archive. In addition, we offer a curriculum that scaffolds for students to provide them lessons introducing them to career concepts, moving on to more personal career exploration, and then helping them to make decisions on career and postsecondary options.

Can you share a demo of career exploration or other career success programming with our members?

Our website incorporates a number of materials related to career exploration. Some examples include:

  • An overview of career planning in Naviance
  • webinar on using Career Key to engage students
  • preview of the Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum
  • video introducing self-discovery in Naviance
  • video introducing the Roadtrip Nation Archive

In which ways do you see practitioners making good use of workforce/career data? Can you point us to some good use cases/examples of the platform?

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Thank you to Kim for her time and insight into how the Naviance platform approaches connecting college and career success!

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