Academy for Educational Development's (AED's) Passport to Success: Leader's Guide and Student Workbook, also known as the "Career Passport," is designed to help youth systematically capture the skills and knowledge gained in school, at home, or as a volunteer and apply them to the workplace. The curriculum aims to develop creative thinking and critical-analysis abilities, as well as self-esteem among students as participants begin to develop a professional resume that demonstrates their individual skills.
The Student Workbook is made up of worksheets that together form the sections of a professional résumé. The categories include personal information, education and training, work experiences, volunteer and community experiences, family-related activities, hobbies, interests and achievements, skills, strengths and abilities, plans, and references. The workbook is intended for use in a classroom but may also be applied to non-school based youth programs. Rather than providing a particular set of skills, the workbook provides a step-by-step approach for students to gradually develop a professional profile and the tools to self-evaluate their progress and development. The Leader's Guide is part of an umbrella program called Connections: School to Work Transitions Package. The guide provides instructions to facilitators on how to use the Student Workbook and offers suggestions for supplementary activities designed to accommodate the various learning styles of youth.
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The Career Passport does not offer specific "life skills" and/or "employability skills," but is instead focused on tracking the skills gained from education, volunteering, and employment. It is therefore intended to complement other life and employability preparedness programs. It is an essential program that, if integrated by grade ten (at the latest), would allow youth to build a profile that reflects their personal and professional development, and help them to develop the skills to become self evaluators. While the curriculum is clear and straightforward, the Career Passport could benefit from a redesign to make it more visually appealing, or adapted as an online tool. If digitized, it would be even more interesting to youth, since technology is a language they all understand and can relate to.
Given that putting together a resume is fairly straightforward and requires information to be written down, the Career Passport manual offers a systematic way to do that. It doesn't necessarily lend itself to participatory activities. The flow of the manuals makes sense and is essentially in the order one would find information in a resume. While the student manual is comprised mostly of worksheets, the teacher's guide does try to point out what types of things should be discussed in depth for each topic and suggests supplemental activities. The program is primarily geared towards youth in secondary school but it can be adapted to other settings. As long as the youth going through the program understand the need for a resume, they might be willing to go through the worksheets. It could be helpful, perhaps, to bring youth who have gone through the process or used a resume to find a job to come as guest speakers or as assistants/facilitators of the program.
In addition, although the Teacher's Guide lists student-learning objectives at the beginning of each of the main sections, there isn't a measurable way of seeing if the student has achieved these objectives beyond the student filling in the worksheets and completing a career passport (resume) as a final product. Given that the curriculum is comprised mainly of worksheets, I would not say that it fosters critical thinking and creativity. It helps the learners to validate their past experiences and understand that this information can be incorporated into a resume, be useful in job interviews, etc. Finally, while the materials are easy to understand they are not geared towards learners at low literacy levels.
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