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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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At Pathways, Parents Learn To Help Children Plan Careers

School and business leaders are asking parents to sit up, set aside basketball, music lessons, what-have-you for one night, and pay attention.

At two meetings next week at Horizon Junior High, 3915 S. Pines Road, the Pathways consortium will help parents find ways to help their children plan their careers.

One meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, is for parents of junior high students. The other, at 7 p.m. Thursday, is for parents of students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The consortium is made up of such area businesses as Kaiser Aluminum and the Spokane Teachers Credit Union, along with area school districts and the Community Colleges of Spokane. Its aim is to get parents and their school-age children to start planning and exploring avenues to good-paying jobs in Spokane. Some of those jobs require a four-year degree; others demand technical training.

Pathways’ message is: Help plan your child’s career by concentrating on what their interests are today. Realize that experience isn’t the only teacher when it comes to career planning. Given the information age, careers in the future will look quite different from today’s.

Sexy, it’s not.

But Pathway proponents say they’re trying to educate parents, so their children can make better choices when it comes to higher education.

Fred Donovan is one parent who recently got involved with the Pathways effort.

“Parents need to hear about the changing nature of work in America and what they might need in the future,” Donovan said. She volunteers at Central Valley High School where her daughter is a senior. Her duties there give her a particular reason to be interested in Pathways.

One of Donovan’s duties is to patrol the parking lot at noon. She talks with students who are coming and going to the Skills Center, where increasingly sophisticated occupational and technical classes are taught.

She sees students who have latched onto school, because they’ve found something to excite them at the Skills Center. And she knows how difficult is for other students, her own daughter included, to work out a high school schedule that allows them to get to the center.

Pathways “is very future oriented. And a lot of parents have a historical prospective about education - ‘this is how I did it,’ ” Donovan said. “But, I’ve been out of high school for 30 years. And, it’s a different world out there.”

, DataTimes

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