Exploring Occupational Opportunities
Getting Your Education
Learning to Make School Work for You
Planning for College
Getting Career Skills and Experience
Getting Career Skills and Experience
Getting experience in the career or occupation you are interested in is important for many reasons. It helps you find out what day-to-day life is like in that field, what aspects of the work you do and don’t enjoy, and to get some hands on experience and skills that you can begin to build on — plus, you can put it in your resume and on your college or vocation training application. If you need help with getting a job, you will find more information on employment and money in the Financial Wellness section.
Hands-On Career Development Resources
Career One Stop - Youth Portal
This is a well-organized web portal for youth age 16-24 to help you “find a career that makes you happy every morning you wake up.” Learn more and access information, resources and tools on finding a career you like, finishing high school, getting work experience, writing a resume, getting a job, getting training, working for yourself, applying to college, and finding job search help. From the U.S. Labor Department.
California Employment Services for Youth
This is the youth services web page on the California Employment Development Department (EDD). It provides key resources links to youth education and training programs, career development services, employment experience opportunities, and summer youth employment.
- Job Corps
Job Corps is a program for 16-24 year olds that provides a place to live, medical care, vocational training, and a GED. Students live on the Job Corps campus while they receive vocational training for a job. This program is free.
AmeriCorps provides a living allowance, health insurance, training, and an education award to help young people age 16 and over pay for college or vocational training in exchange for serving full-time in community service. Young people can live on campus or on their own.
- FEMA Corps
FEMA Corps is a joint program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and AmeriCorps, and offers young people the similar benefits as AmeriCorps. FEMA Corps Members serve a 10-month term and are eligible to serve a second year based on their performance. FEMA Corps members may work directly with disaster survivors, provide support services to disaster recovery centers, or assist disaster preparedness.
- California Conservation Corps
The California Conservation Corps is a residential program for 18-23 year olds that has a motto of "hard work, low pay, miserable conditions... and more!" Members of the Conservation Corps live on a campus and are paid to do day to day conservation work and provide emergency response to floods, fires, oil spills, and earthquakes. For more information call: 1-800-952-JOBS or visit the
Youthbuild provides low-income youth between the ages of 16-24 with supportive, individualized classroom instruction while working towards their high school diploma and preparing them for Registered Apprenticeships in the construction trades. Young people learn hands-on skills building low-income and affordable housing throughout the country.
- Registered Apprenticeships
Registered Apprenticeship is a flexible training system that combines job related technical instruction with on-the-job learning experiences. Apprentices start working from day one with incremental wage increases as they become better at the job. Registered Apprenticeship is active in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, but it expanding into emerging industries such as healthcare, energy, and homeland security.
- Year Up
Year Up is a free one-year program for young people between 18–24 years old who are highly motivated to learn technical and professional skills. It combines hands-on skill development, college credits, a stipend, and corporate internships to prepare students for success in professional careers and higher education. Youth earn up to 24 college credits and a stipend while gaining valuable work experience in the field of IT. Must be a high school graduate or GED recipient.
- Joining the Military
This guide was written to help foster youth understand what “joining the military” really means. For foster youth who are considering military service, this guide will help you make the best decision for yourself and help you navigate the military enlistment process.
Job + Career Plan
Use this tool to track your job experience, skills and certifications, identify resources available to you, and develop your career goals as you transition into adulthood.