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Getting Real

Getting Real
Helping Teens Find Their Future

Second Edition

September 2008 | 216 pages | Corwin
Help ALL teenagers to define realistic goals, develop career direction, and find their future! This revised edition of the bestseller offers educators a six-step plan for helping all students and their parents develop alternative plans for post high school success that may or may not involve a college degree. Getting Real compares the disparity between students' preconceived beliefs and aspirations and the new economic and labor markets they will face as adults, and calls on educators to improve the odds for every young person. Emphasizing the importance of exploring all options, the updated second edition covers critical topics such as:

occupational race and gender stereotypes

updated labor market projections that highlight technician-level careers and new middle level skill occupations

the strong link between academic maturity, career direction, and postsecondary success

the unique career development needs of potential dropouts and of high school graduates who go to work.

Preface to the Second Edition
About the Author
1. Getting Real: New Realities for Postsecondary Success
A New Goal: Postsecondary Success

Career Direction and the "Fourth" R

Career Maturity and Career Direction

Career Exploration Activities and Career Maturity

Career Development Programs: Are They Effective?

Society's Ambivalence About Career Choice

The Role of Public Schools

Making the Case for Career Development Programs

Promoting Success

Part I. Understanding Those We Try to Help “Get Real”
2. Today’s Teens and Their Parents
Today’s Teens

Today’s Parents

Promoting Success

3. Dropouts, Teens With Disabilities, and Graduates Seeking Full Time Employment
Getting Real and High School Dropouts

Getting Real and Special Populations

High School Graduates Who Seek Full Time Employment

Promoting Success

4. Creating Opportunities by Countering Stereotypes
Occupational Stereotypes

Gender Stereotypes and Earnings: Education or Occupation?

Occupational Stereotyping: Minorities and the Economically Disadvantaged

Promoting Success

Part II. Understanding Labor Market Fundamentals
5. Labor Market Misunderstandings and Bad Advice
Misunderstanding 1: A University Degree Guarantees Access to High Wages

Misunderstanding 2: A University Degree Guarantees Access to Professional Careers

Misunderstanding 3: High Tech Careers Require a University Degree

Misunderstanding 4: Career Planning Is Worthless Because People Change Jobs All the Time Anyway

Misunderstanding 5: University Graduates Will Take All the Good Jobs

Labor Market Advantage: The Secret to Getting High-Skill / High-Wage Employment

Bad Advice Given to Teens

Will Tentative Career Decisions Close the Door to Future Opportunity?

Promoting Success

6. Occupational Projections, Technical and Middle Skill Employment
I: Using Labor Market Information

II: Occupational Projections

III: The Other Way to Win: Technical and Middle-Skill Occupations

A Selective List of Technical and Middle Skilled Occupations: This Is Rocket Science

Promoting Success

Part III. Strategies to Promote Career Direction
7. Career Success, Decision Making, and Teens
The Path to Career Success?

Characteristics of a Career Mature Teenager

Career Decision Making Anxiety of Teens

Reducing Teen Anxiety Over Making Career Decisions

Promoting Success

8. Strategies to Promote Adolescent Career Maturity and Direction
Student Outcome Goals for Career Development Program

Outcome Goal 1: Promoting a Tentative Career Direction While in the 10th Grade

Outcome Goal 2: Verifying Tentative Career Directions

Outcome Goal 3: Develop a Postsecondary Plan

Providing Career Counseling

Promoting Success

9. Considering “All” the Alternatives
Traditional Formal Education Alternatives

Alternatives to College

The “Bridge” or “Prep” Year

Promoting Success

10. Six-Step Plan for Postsecondary Success
Talking to Parents

Parents and Career Choice

Six-Step Plan for Postsecondary Success

Helping Parents With Difficult Choices

Promoting Success

11. Getting Real and the Role of the Business Community
Community Organizations

Promoting Success

12. How Are Teenagers Best Served, Nutritional Lies or Reality?
Nutritional Lies

Creating Opportunity

Five Premises for Success

Well-Intended but Bad Advice Given to Teens

Understanding Our Role

Fighting the Good Fight


"I applaud the author’s efforts in promoting a shift from the 'one way to win' stance toward that of helping students face reality and develop career goals that will help them be successful."

Shawn Grime, School Counselor
Bryan High School, OH

"Stresses the need for career maturity. This is one of the few books that addresses this topic so well."

Diane Smith, School Counselor
Smethport Area High School, PA

"This book is a must-read for those involved in developing futures planning for students in ninth grade through their exit from high school into adult life."

Kelli S. Kercher, Transition Specialist
Murray School District, UT

“Gray provides a systematic method for working with students to look at opportunities after high school in a realistic way.”

Mary Reeve, Director
Services for Exceptional Students

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface to the Second Edition

Chapter 1

Kenneth Carter Gray

Kenneth C. Gray is a professor in the Workforce Education and Development Program at Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, he was superintendent of the Vocational Technical High School System in Connecticut and has been a high school English teacher, guidance counselor, and administrator. He has published widely and is frequently quoted in the national press. He is coauthor with Edwin Herr of Workforce Education: The Basic. His latest book, Getting Real: Helping Teens Find Their Future, addresses the importance of helping teenagers develop career direction as a prerequisite to postsecondary success. He... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412963657