The following is a guest post from Mary Anne Huband, a vocational evaluator and MECA enthusiast.
I’m sure we can all think of someone who graduated high school without the slightest clue as to what they were going to do next. What usually happens is, they end up settling in at a job they hate just to pay the bills. Or how about the student who goes on to earn a 4-year college degree, but when the time comes to pursue a career in that field, they realize they have no interest or passion for it. Two very different paths, but relatively similar outcomes: Both individuals find themselves heading full speed down a career path that they have no interest in. Situations like these can be easily avoided with the use of one program – MECA. Here are some examples of students that I have had the opportunity to help discover their passion and find the career path that is right for them.
MECA Success Stories
As a high school junior, John enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program at the Tech Center in his county. He earned an A in the class and received 6 college credits. John had no clue as to what he wanted to do once he graduated from high school. It was not until he completed the MECA Interest Inventory and Learning Assessment Program (LAP) that he realized that Criminal Justice was his career interest. Now he is focused on pursuing a Criminal Justice Degree at a community college.
We recently received the following email from a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing.
“Your MECA program is on my list of fantastic things. My son had an evaluation a couple of years ago and came home with the desire to be a plumber. He is now in his second year of the plumbing program at the Tech Center and has an internship that he worked at full time over the summer. He works every other day now and it looks like the company he works for can be a long term source of employment for him. If people don’t tell you enough, THANK YOU!”
A graduating senior had no idea what she wanted to do next. After receiving a vocational assessment through the MECA system she enrolled in a special program at a local university and is currently pursuing her interests in day care.
A high school junior received a vocational assessment utilizing the MECA system and decided to pursue a career in heating and air conditioning. After being employed for a summer he realized that this was not the job for him because of severe allergies. He returned for a re-evaluation and is now enrolled in an electronics course at his county’s tech center.
What MECA Means for Evaluators
One of the greatest moments a vocational evaluator can have is when we hear that one of our students has secured a job in their field of interest. The MECA system allows students to find their passion. That passion that motivates them to further their education and ultimately drives them to secure that ideal job. Students may find a category interesting, but when they are allowed to complete hands-on activities in their interest area they may decide that job is really not what they want to do. As MECA states, once a career goal is defined, the Learning Assessment Program (LAPs) can also aid students in laying the foundation for those basic workplace skills and the course of study necessary for them to achieve their post-secondary goals.
MECA’s programs for transition are providing educators a means to guide our students toward a specific job, field of interest or ability, vocational training, or courses of study. According to IDEA the three purposes of assessment are system accountability, eligibility determination, and development of an appropriate individualized education program. MECA guides this entire process.