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Kara Jones

Informing Dreams in Alabama

News Flash! I wanted to share a feature by WKRG News discussing  how Career Cruising is helping eighth graders at Calloway Smith Middle School in Mobile County, Alabama explore their futures, and the importance of doing so at an early age.

Counselor Niki Dailey, who is in charge of the Career Cruising program at Calloway Smith, explained that when her students first started using the program, they all wanted to be professional dancers, or play in the NFL or NBA.  Eighth grader Lawrence Rankin immediately chose “Professional athlete” as his career.  Using Career Cruising, Dailey encouraged Rankin and others to consider a Plan “B”. By exploring their strengths, likes and dislikes, students were able to discover other possible careers they might consider. “Students are learning about careers they never knew existed and what education is involved in order to get a job” she adds.

Most of us can relate to a time in school when we had no idea why we were taking a class (like advanced algebra), and how it would help in our future professions. Or dreaming of the future but relying on guesswork, a combination of random courses, and a whole lot of hoping to actually get there. This article is the perfect example of the importance of implementing a program such as Career Cruising to help engage and inspire students in the early stages of their educational careers to place them on a realistic path to success, based completely on their strengths and interests.  Students can discover themselves, choose potential careers, and map out the exact courses required to get there.

Currently, all students in Mobile County are assigned portfolios starting in 6th grade that they continue to build upon until graduation. Portfolio completion standards have been set for each grade and are closely monitored throughout the year to ensure students are taking positive action to realize their futures. Beginning in September 2012, students will have access to local company profiles through R U Ready Southwest Alabama, an implementation of ccInspire funded through the Mobile Area Education Foundation. Through initiatives like these, we know that our future leaders are not just dreamers, but are backed by an array of information that engages them in their academic careers, and gives them the power to achieve their full potential in school, career and life.

More importantly, as the Career and Technical Education Director for Mobile County Public Schools, Larry Mouton (, says,  “we are confident that students drop out of school because they do not see a reason to stay, hopefully Career Cruising is a part of the formula for giving students a path and direction.”

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