Career & Life Skills

Dearborn's career and life skills programs have received commendations from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Preparing for the Future

It may be hard to imagine now while you are still in school, but all Dearborn students should expect to graduate and one day have a job. Our graduates achieve success in a variety of ways and venues, using the skills and resources they have gained through our program. Some Dearborn Academy alumni go on to two- or four-year colleges, others pursue training and certificates in specific skills and fields, and others join the workforce directly. 

To prepare for the future, we provide students with a comprehensive career curriculum that has received commendations by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

Career Education Curriculum

  • Junior Career Education
    This year-long course is designed to help each student identify his or her own strengths and weaknesses, to introduce information about a variety of fields and to encourage close examination of a particular career. The course begins with students completing a number of skill, value and interest inventories and culminates in the writing of a research paper analyzing the student’s intended career.
  • Senior Transition
    Students work in a small group to reflect on and discuss the essential questions that will guide their choices for the future. These questions include: What do I like? What am I like? What are my values? How will I choose a career? How will I react when I face challenges at work? This course provides each student both time for introspection and the support of the group as he or she contemplates the future.
  • "Having a Life"
    This workshop teaches students how to navigate the many decisions that come with independence. Units address buying a car, finding a home, banking, taxes, credit cards, and nutrition. Lessons are practical and concrete with students working through the steps needed to plan a menu, draft a grocery list or apply for a credit card.
  • Independent Study
    In the second half of the year, seniors undertake an independent, career-related study project. Those who hold outside jobs are able to earn credit through their employment, and if they are in good academic standing these students are eligible to leave school early four afternoons a week. Students who are not employed select a skill or task that is directly related to their career goals to focus on during this time. In the past, teachers have supervised students as they prepared for SATs, studied for the ASVAB, worked on graphic design, prepared art portfolios, improved their computer skills, composed resumes and searched for employment.
  • Career Skills Workshops
    In addition to the electives we offer to all our high school students, students in grades 11 and 12 choose from our career and life-skills workshops. These skills workshops meet four times a week for about 45 minutes and are designed to introduce students to the work world and job responsibilities and help them develop real skills that can make them valuable and successful employees. They work in very small groups, study actual businesses and learn how to do tasks that would be common in these areas. The workshops can give students a leg up when looking for a summer job or a job after Dearborn. Workshop offerings change, depending on student interests, but the following are popular offerings:

    Retail Management
    Wood Shop and Building Maintenance
    Metal Shop and Welding
    Medical Terminology
    Culinary Arts
    Computer Lab
    Graphic Arts
  • Job Shadows 
    Dearborn Academy also arranges job shadow experiences that allow students to explore a potential career by visiting a professional for two hours at his or her work site. The student observes the tasks, activities and responsibilities of the job, and comes prepared with questions to ask. Dearborn students have experienced job shadows with Elephant Music GroupOttoson Middle SchoolSummer Street Getty and Tufts University Dining Services. If you would be willing to allow a Dearborn student to shadow you, please call or email our career services office at 781.641.5992.
  • Speakers
    Dearborn Academy welcomes guest speakers on topics related to career and life skill development. In the past, students have listened with interest to information sessions led by representatives from City Year, Universal Technical Institute, Job Corps and Bunker Hill Community College. Guests have spoken about the benefits and drawbacks of an array of careers, from construction to professional wrestling. Students have also heard from Dearborn Academy alumni about accessing learning supports in college, becoming self-sufficient and making the most of their education. If you are interested in speaking to students at Dearborn Academy about your career, please call or email our career services office at 781.641.5992.
  • Career and College Visits
    Dearborn Academy staff members take student groups each year to tour a variety of local colleges, training programs, and workplaces. If you would be willing to host a student at your workplace, please call or email our career services office at 781.641.5992.


Learn about our Career and College Counseling Services

For Dearborn Academy course descriptions, please download the course catalog.