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Career Readiness | Middle School

Is NGPF the Right Career Readiness Curriculum for You?

July 29th, 2021 | 6 min. read

Emma Stanton

Emma Stanton

Emma plays a critical role in facilitating communication between valued educators and AES, daily. It's paramount for her to understand the needs and perspective of our teachers to ensure our mutual success, and add value wherever possible.

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Are you scrambling to find career readiness lesson plans and activities to teach your classes?

While we provide a digital career readiness curriculum as part of Business&ITCenter21, some teachers are looking for supplemental lesson plans they can use in their classrooms.

A common resource we hear about from middle school teachers like you is Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF).

But just because other educators use NGPF, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your courses!

So should you use Next Gen Personal Finance for career readiness materials too?

In this post, we’ll answer four common questions about Next Gen Personal Finance:

  1. What Is Next Gen Personal Finance?
  2. What’s Available for Middle School Career Readiness?
  3. What Are the Benefits?
  4. What Are the Drawbacks?

We’ll also share a few alternatives to Next Gen Personal Finance to ensure you have the best resources for your needs!

1. What Is Next Gen Personal Finance?

ngpf

Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is a non-profit that provides free personal finance curriculum and professional development to more than 30,000 middle and high school teachers.

Their website provides flexible resources to fit your classroom needs - from individual units to a full-year curriculum. Each curriculum includes exams, assignments, projects, and additional activity packets. 

In addition to the curriculums, NGPF serves as a teaching resource with a blog, podcasts, newsletters, and more to create an online community for middle school teachers.

So what NGPF resources could you use in a middle school career readiness class?

2. What Career Readiness Materials Are Available?

NGPF provides a full-year career readiness curriculum with individual lessons you can pick and choose from.

The curriculum includes 10 units that teachers can access through Google Docs:

ngpf-career-readiness-lessons

  1. Career Basics - Students identify career pathways, recognize how different careers can be connected, and contextualize education and pay rates.
  2. Choosing a Career - Students explore career options based on interests and understand how to gather information on target careers.
  3. Workplace Skills - Students identify skills necessary for various jobs, differentiate between hard skills and soft skills, and analyze their current skill set.
  4. Finding a Job - Students use online job boards, prepare for and navigate career fairs and other networking events, and overcome imposter syndrome when applying for jobs.
  5. Your LinkedIn Profile - Students understand the importance of having a professional presence online, then create and use a LinkedIn profile to network professionally.
  6. Resumes & Cover Letters - Students learn how a resume differs from a LinkedIn profile, write a resume, and create a cover letter.
  7. Interviewing for a Job - Students explore strategies to generate interview opportunities, practice answering common interview questions, and review how to follow-up after an interview.
  8. Outcomes of a Job Interview - Students will learn to negotiate a salary, compare job offers, and what to do if they do not get an offer. 
  9. Starting a New Job - Students will read a pay stub, understand how net pay is calculated, and complete employee paperwork.
  10. Career Success - Students explain the benefits of professional organizations, create a plan that shows the path to their dream job, and learn to ask for a raise effectively.

Each unit contains various instructional materials to help you teach career readiness skills, including lesson plans, worksheets, articles, videos, and more.

The career readiness unit also includes a summative assessment to test your student’s knowledge of the material covered.

Outside of the main career readiness units, you'll find learning materials such as interactive activities, videos, and classroom games.

Plus NGPF provides a "Teacher Toolkit" to help new users quickly get up and running with their account.

3. What Are the Benefits of Next Gen Personal Finance?

NGPF provides two primary benefits to middle school career readiness teachers:

  • Affordability
  • Ready-to-use lesson plans

Affordability

If you’re like most middle school career readiness teachers, you have a tight classroom budget.

Luckily, All NGPF curriculum, professional development, and support are free.

NGPF is funded through an endowment created by the co-founder, Tim Ranzetta, and receives no funding from outside sources, including financial institutions. 

This means that you’ll always have a ton of free resources for inside and outside the classroom at your fingertips.

Ready-to-Use Lesson Plans

Every teacher has felt the last-minute panic of needing extra activities to fill out lesson plans for the week.

That’s one area where NGPF’s career readiness lessons can be a real lifesaver!

With the ability to instantly access the lessons and resources through Google Docs, NGPF is ready to use when you need it.

So if you need to round out a lesson plan or are thrown into the deep end of teaching career readiness at the last minute, NGPF can help keep you afloat.

4. What Are the Drawbacks of Next Gen Personal Finance?

Though NGPF is meant to make teachers’ lives easier, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Paper-based materials
  • Risk of outdated materials from other sources
  • Grade levels aren’t indicated

Paper-Based Materials

NGPF is an online resource; however, all of the materials are contained in Google Docs and require you to print everything your students will complete.

This means that you need a Google Account to access the materials and the ability to print everything for your class - which can be cumbersome.

Risk of Outdated Materials from Other Sources

The materials used in NGPF lessons are gathered from their own content and other sources such as LinkedIn, Tallo, Career Contessa, Indeed, and more. 

With NGPF being a non-profit organization providing free materials, these resources may become outdated or come up with missing links before the NGPF updates their lessons.

Grade Levels Aren’t Indicated

While many middle and high school teachers use NGPF, the website doesn’t indicate the intended grade level of the career readiness curriculum. 

This leaves it up to the teacher to review and decide if the material is suitable for their classroom.

Alternatives to Next Gen Personal Finance for Career Readiness Classes

Overall, NGPF could be a good fit for your middle school career readiness classes. 

However, if you aren’t sure that NGPF is what you’re looking for, these resources could be a great starting point for your career readiness lessons:

If you want a more robust curriculum that covers career readiness and other crucial skills like digital literacy, 21st Century skills, and even computer applications, consider checking out Business&ITCenter21.

Thousands of middle school teachers use Business&ITCenter21 to teach career readiness, digital literacy, and computer skills, all with one cohesive curriculum system.

Here’s one teacher’s experience with digital curriculum for their career readiness classes:

“We are really pushing college and career readiness, and most of my courses intertwine with that. Business&ITCenter21 reinforces it since there are professionalism and business communication modules. And there are programs for teaching Microsoft Office, which is vital nowadays with any job. Students need to have those skills.” 

kelsey-kemp-croppedKelsey Kemp

Parkway Middle School, FL

Wondering if Business&ITCenter21 is a good fit for you? Watch the free demo video to learn more about the system:

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