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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

September 5, 2023

Discover Your Future Pilot

Submitted by Rick Peterson

4-H Career Exploration and Career Pathway Program

I would like to introduce a first-in-the-nation pilot program involving extension programs and 4-H Youth Development, in collaboration with several K-State colleges and departments.

The Discover Your Future Career Exploration and Pathway program will kick off this fall. This pilot program will enable 60 junior and senior high 4-H youth (20 per class) to achieve college credit by completing an aligned 4-H project and passing the accompanying K-State intro-level college course.

To date, the pilot project courses available include:

  • Introduction to Personal Financial Planning.
  • Introduction to Human Development.
  • Introduction to Agriculture Communications.

A state-level Career Exploration and Career Pathway advisory team (CEP) has been formed to provide guidance for the pilot program.

Benefits to extension, 4-H and the university
Opportunities for KSRE 4-H are many and include:

  • Increased recruitment of youth into 4-H as a career exploration and career development program.
  • Increased 4-H and K-State brand recognition to external audiences (youth, families, schools, communities) and internal (K-State colleges, departments).
  • Increased retention of older 4-H youth through the opportunity to gain college credit.
  • Opportunities to align 4-H curriculum with KSU departments.
  • Increased visibility of KSRE and 4-H as a partner in university student recruitment.

Potential advantages for the K-State Colleges and Departments include:

  • Introducing the K-State brand through 4-H clubs and school enrichment programs.
  • Early exposure to K-State career opportunities for students and parents.
  • Early access and recruitment of potential students through involvement in 4-H and course options.
  • Better coordination and partnership between 4-H and the university, colleges and departments regarding student recruitment.

How it works: Application and enrollment
The process begins by enrolling in 4-H online as a member. Next, interested youth fill out a Discover Your Future Career Exploration and Pathway application.

The application will be reviewed by the CEP advisory team and a recommendation will be made for acceptance into the program and chosen class. If selected to participate in the pilot program, the participant will be required to pay a $75 application/entrance fee. All other costs will be paid by scholarship or waived for the program.

The total estimated value of the program per 4-H youth is $640 (tuition plus KSU admission fee plus college and departmental fees). Efforts are underway to enlisted sponsorship to offer scholarship support to defray the cost. Additionally, we plan to work with school systems to offer the course for dual credit.

An Extension Navigator (EN) for each course will provide support to an instructor of record in charge of a class. The EN will assist 4-H youth in navigating and answering questions for the pilot program as well as assisting in the process to enter the K-State system and support the instructor with the class.

Additionally, the EN will be a liaison to parents, local unit agents who have 4-H youth involved, and the youth enrolled in the course to facilitate communication, troubleshoot and assist 4-H youth.

The intro courses will be asynchronous (asynchronous learning allows you to learn on your own schedule within a certain timeframe) which will allow 4-H youth to work the course into their own schedule. 4-H youth will be in a separate course section designed for integration of assignments that lead to 4-H projects that they can show at local fairs.

Timeline for the Project:
     Recruitment: September.
     4-H enrollment and project selections: Oct. 1.
     Application deadline: Oct. 15 or until slots are filled.
     Review of applications: Oct. 15- 30.
     Program and class orientation: Nov. 15 for 4-H youth, parents, and agents.
     Canvas course orientation: Nov. 22.
     Official enrollment into the intro course: December.
     Class duration: Jan. 16 – May 10.

How You Can Help
The success of the pilot depends upon recruiting 4-H youth into the project. You all know youth who are self-starters and have shown success in their 4-H career. Please encourage 4-H youth who have an interest in the pilot and course to submit an application when they become available.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email, rlperson@ksu.edu.