Career Discovery in Place as Teens Set Lifelong Foundation

Jun 16 , 2015
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Through DISC, VAAs Help High Schoolers Discover Unique Skills

For many teens, the career-planning experience in high school may point them in the right direction. But it can also leave them without a clear understanding if they don't have the skills and talents to be successful in a particular profession.

A student may discover she’s interested in a nursing career, but has no way to determine if that interest will lead to success in an emergency room or outpatient clinic environment.

That is, until Value Added Associates John Hersey and Beverly Belury started helping students properly connect the dots.

Connecting the Dots

For the past 10 years, they have shown students at Fountain Hills High School in Fountain Hills, Arizona, the impact of job fit and cultural fit when exploring career options.

Hersey and Belury’s ongoing philanthropic efforts have involved the administration of TTI Success Insights’ DISC and Motivators assessments to the students to better understand self and others. Typically, 80 juniors and seniors take part each year.

More importantly, Hersey and Belury say the experience allows the students to look at themselves differently and perhaps consider new career choices that are more aligned with their skill sets.

“Discovering your inner talents and then understanding where you would best succeed is so important today,” Belury said.

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DISC in Real Life

Hersey and Belury use a host of exercises for the teens to better understand themselves and become successful. One impactful exercise, called the “I am statement,” asks for the teens to use three adjectives to describe themselves using the phrase: “I am . . .”

Because students often focus on their weaknesses and deficiencies versus their core strengths (i.e. report cards), Belury believes TTI SI’s assessments offer them a new perspective to showcase their innate talents.

“Let me tell you: The first thing they think is that the assessment is a test and that it will show where they’re not doing well. They’re so afraid they’re going to answer it wrong,” she said. “I think changing that mindset and having them discover their gifts and where they excel is an eye-opener.”

The DISC and Motivators training is also an impactful tool for teachers, who may find it difficult to always get the most out of all their students.

“For the quiet kid in the back of the room who never looks up, it gives them a whole new appreciation of themselves,” Belury said. “Just because a young adult isn’t showing a lot of expression, it doesn’t mean they’re not engaged.”


Science of Self

As a now former high school teacher, Claire McWilliams grasps the importance of giving students various avenues for them to better understand self and others.

McWilliams, who served as the life skills and hotel and restaurant management teacher before recently taking a position at Arizona State University, said the DISC and Motivators assessments “really lend themselves to uncovering what personal traits allow respondents to be successful.”

“It doesn’t give them some prescribed set of jobs that they should go and consider themselves for,” she said. “Instead, it has them assess their strengths and their weaknesses, and to really start the conversation about what kind of job fit bests suits their personality.”

McWilliams said it’s Hersey and Belury’s dynamic and contrasting personalities, as well as their ability to connect with the high school students, that’s made the DISC and Motivators training so impactful over the years.

“John and Bev have a unique way of connecting and understanding our teens,” she said. “We need more people to know who they are and how they fit in the business world.”

Whether the assessment results are affirming or new information, McWilliams ultimately believes the byproduct of the experience is the students’ ability to better articulate who they are and what skills they can bring to the workplace.

“I can remember being so confused when I was younger. Peer pressure, not knowing really what I was great at,” Belury said. “I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could’ve had one of these assessments when I was younger. It just builds up your self-confidence and self-esteem. I can see it in their eyes.”

Lives Touched: 1,000

 Download TTI Success Insights eBook on DISC

About the Author

Zach Colick