Build Your Future: Connecting Career Exploration and Postsecondary Education


  • Nancy Shelstad University of Idaho
  • Carrie Johnson University of Idaho
  • Suzann Dolecheck University of Idaho



college readiness, career exploration, postsecondary education, 4-H, youth financial education


Many factors perpetuate the low go-on rate in Idaho, and many Idaho youth do not look to postsecondary education as an obtainable future, though evidence predicts Idaho’s job market will require more postsecondary degrees. Therefore, the goal of the Idaho 4-H Build Your Future Program is to cultivate relationships with Idaho youth that would otherwise not seek postsecondary education. The program provides youth with the opportunity to explore career options, visit a college campus, and visualize themselves as capable, competent adults with a quality education, thus inspiring more youth to consider pursuing advanced career paths. Site facilitators across Idaho led groups of youth in 8th through 12th grades through the program. A pre–post retrospective survey of the 2018 program indicates that youth are learning more about postsecondary education options and how to pay for it. In the survey, 87% of youth indicated that they understand the different requirements for postsecondary degrees and certifications, and 77% indicated that they have created a plan to pay for their postsecondary education. The program is raising awareness of potential solutions for moving forward with postsecondary education options.

Author Biographies

Nancy Shelstad, University of Idaho

4-H Youth Development

Regional 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator

Carrie Johnson, University of Idaho

4-H Youth Development

4-H Youth Development Extension Educator

Suzann Dolecheck, University of Idaho

4-H Youth Development

4-H Youth Development Extension Educator


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