Supporting the Career Aspirations of American Indian Youth.
Dropout rates among American Indian young people are greater than 50% in some places in the country, and the rate of unemployment and underemployment among American Indians still far exceeds that of the majority population, despite affirmative action and other parity-seeking policies. In addition, U.S. Census trends indicate an influx of American Indians in Minnesota migrating to large urban areas. These trends highlight a critical need to provide career planning and development interventions that are culturally relevant and address the unique career challenges of American Indian young people. Career education is one way to help young people set career goals, make plans to reach those goals, and overcome career barriers early in life. However, few tested career education programs are designed to meet the specific career development needs of American Indian young people. To help fill this gap, the authors developed a career education curriculum called 'Two Feathers: A Career Education Curriculum for American Indian Adolescents,' which is described in this article.
Based on their analysis of the impact of the curriculum, the authors conclude it is imperative that career education curriculum intended for use with American Indian youth incorporate the cultural values, cultural expressions, and cultural traditions of American Indian people. For educators who wish to implement a culturally based career curriculum, the authors offer a number of suggestions based on their collaboration with American Indian parents, educators, and community leaders.