Youth job shadowing.

Children & Youth Impacts: Preparing the Future Generation for Careers


April 13, 2021

Key Figures

  • 12,454 Youth participants in 2019 Michigan 4-H career exploration and workforce development programs
  • 902 adult participants in 2019 Michigan 4-H career exploration and workforce development programs

Priority Areas

Michigan State University Extension offers 4-H Youth Development programs that assist youth in preparing for and finding gainful employment and educational opportunities.

These programs focus on:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial literacy
  • Career exploration
  • Workforce preparation

In addition to equipping young Michiganders with the skills and competencies critical to any job, these experiences allow youth to explore careers in a safe and informative way.


As a result of Michigan 4-H vocational-related activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

Of youth surveyed in 2019:

  • 95% are confident about making future money decisions.
  • 93% feel they have the skills to successfully manage their money.
  • 92% know how to effectively market themselves to others.
  • 93% know how to present themselves in a professional manner
  • 93% know how to effectively communicate with customers.
  • 93% can identify resources needed to develop a business.

For more information about MSU Extension’s career exploration and workforce preparation programs and resources, contact or visit preparation.

Participant Quote

  • "I learned how to prepare myself for an interview and that will help me in the future when I apply for a job. As a matter of fact, it will help me with more things than a job!"
    • Youth participant in a career exploration and workforce preparation program 

Skills For Today and Tomorrow

In summer 2019, 30 area youth attended the Genesis Hope Summer Program known as Young Sprouts. Held in Wayne County, the program partnered with MSU Extension to provide youth in the 20-week program with a variety of educational sessions that helped them to learn important career preparation and life skills. In addition to lessons on mental health, financial literacy and leadership, MSU Extension delivered workforce readiness training on topics such as interviewing, public speaking and conflict resolution. Participants learned so much, remarking:

  • "It will help me get a position that I want and teaches me how to approach a situation in a professional manner."
  • "It will help me to better myself and prepare for an interview. It will also help me work on my time management skills.

In addition, youth received entrepreneurship and marketing training, skills they immediately put to work in their local farm market. By learning about target market appeal, customer service and overall marketing, the youth not only developed skills to be more successful in their entrepreneurship efforts but also explored entrepreneurships as a potential career pathway.

Building Budding Businesses People

Through a partnership with the Southwestern Michigan College Educational Talent Search, 17 Michigan youth attended the 2019 Entrepreneurship Camp in Cass County. Throughout the four-day summer program, the middle and high school-aged youth received more than 30 hours of entrepreneurship education. As a result of the program, of those youth surveyed:

  • 93% knew how to effectively communicate with customers and identify resources to develop a business.
  • 93% were aware of how to use their skills to become an entrepreneur and planned to use their skills in the future.
  • 86% of participants increased their skill were aware of the finances involved in running a business.

Of the attendees, six planned to start their own business. Those individuals commented:

  • “It will help me start a small business as a creative outlet."
  • "I plan to start my own business so this camp taught me a bit more on starting a business." 


Tags: 4-h, 4-h careers & entrepreneurship, 4-h impacts, 4-h youth money management, msu extension, youth impacts

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