All children dream of what they’ll be when they grow up.
But many high school students don’t want to take on the debt or invest the time in traditional college to reach those goals.
Susan Quattrociocchi has advice for parents and teens: do what you want.
Quattrociocchi spoke to parents and students Tuesday at the Spokane Valley Doubletree Hotel. Her talk was part of a community-wide effort to get Spokane to consider school-to-work programs.
She tells students to figure out what they want to do and what kind of education they’ll need to do it.
The night was hosted by Pathways, a local consortium of businesses formed in 1994 to offer students better basic education, technical training and on-the-job experience. Organizers expected more than 500 parents at the event, but only about 150 showed up to learn how to help their children prepare for careers.
“Ninety-eight percent of what goes on with your kids is about you,” she told the quiet group. “You’re their first teachers … You’re their first, and probably their only, career counselors.”
Quattrociocchi, the director of the Northeast Tech Prep Consortium at Bellevue Community College, also gave parents a few tips to help their kids out:
Read to them more. Spend more time together. Make sure they go to school. Regulate the amount of television they watch.
“You and what you do are increasingly important,” she said.
She also does not advocate traditional college degrees.
“We’ve confused, in this country, the acquiring of skills with the getting of a degree,” Quattrociocchi said.
“The goal is to find our children’s purpose. The education is no more than the means to help them get there.”
Several parents in the crowd asked how they can even begin to get their kids motivated much less headed in the right direction?
“Get your kids to talk to you. Everything that they love is a way that people are making a living,” Quattrociocchi said.
“Lead them through the process of success. You’ll see yourself designing a path.”
She recommended finding ways that teens can try out careers, through internships and other short-term jobs. Take advantage of college preparatory classes in high school, she said.
But most of all, figure out early what you child’s talents are.
“We take kids on tours of college,” she said.
“We should take kids on tours of what they love.
“Once they know that, then they can get the kind of education they need.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo