What’s HirePaths All About Anyway?

Posted September 15, 2022

Ever since its inception, HirePaths’ purpose has been to help parents set their children up for a successful future. We know that each kid has a unique combination of skills, interests and goals that could lead to a successful, in-demand career. The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan for kids after high school, so we need to expand their knowledge — and our own! — about the possibilities. 

As parents and as Kansans, this is especially important. There are tons of unfilled, high-paying jobs across our state. By showing our kids ALL of the options, we’ll also help to meet Kansas’ workforce needs and keep our cities and towns thriving. 

That’s where you come in! We need parents, caregivers and educators to connect the kids in their lives to the content that HirePaths produces — videos, articles, stories and social media posts — and encourage them to take whatever path will help them gain the skills they need to start a successful career. For some young people, that means going into an apprenticeship program straight after high school, and for others that might mean earning a PhD. And that’s how it should be!

What Values Does HirePaths Promote?

HirePaths is built around three primary values we hope you’ll pass along to the kids in your lives:

  1. There are a variety of paths to a successful career, and no one path is superior to the others. As caregivers and teachers, help kids consider all the possible training and educational routes for the career they want to start. This could mean going straight into the workforce after high school, entering an apprenticeship program, enrolling in a technical school or certification program or pursuing a degree at a two-year or four-year university.

    No kid should be made to feel less successful if they take a different path from their friends. The key is having a goal and a plan to get there. If a young person doesn’t have a goal yet, they might want to keep exploring their options before making a significant commitment. 
  2. A young person can start a successful career without first earning a college degree. Some of the most in-demand jobs in Kansas don’t require a degree. Getting your foot in the door with an employer can often be a great way to figure out whether an industry is a good match without incurring student debt. Keep in mind that often, as people gain experience and longevity with an employer, the employer will help pay for them to earn additional post-secondary training as a company benefit. Through HirePaths, we’ve met many professionals who have gone on to earn degrees FOR FREE through tuition reimbursement programs.

    We like to say around here that decisions made during a student’s senior year in high school aren’t sealed in cement. Careers ebb and flow! Taking a job after high school might lead the student to discover a completely different path they’d never otherwise have learned about. 
  3. Any young person who learns a trade and enters the workforce is a success! Many parents still feel disappointed if their child chooses not to join their peers on a college path. That decision is OK! Parents should be just as proud of the kid who learns a trade and enters the workforce as the kid who gets accepted into an Ivy League university. (Our kids need to believe deep in their hearts that’s what we really think, too!) Kids who take a non-college route don’t need to feel the brunt of any stigma from days gone by. Skilled trade jobs and other careers requiring technical training make good money, have great job security and are in huge demand in our ever-changing world.

    And again…see #2. Decisions made right out of high school often change. Today’s young employee, uncertain what they want to do, might be next year’s student pursuing a specific path. Spending time in the real world helps clear the overwhelming confusion of post-high school life and leads to new directions. 

How Will We Know HirePaths Is Successful?

We’re tracking our success by repeatedly measuring a number of performance indicators. We conducted a benchmark study in 2019 to capture parents’ perceptions about post-secondary options. We plan to repeat that study in 2024 to see what’s changed. We also plan to monitor growth of post-secondary educational enrollments and the numbers of job vacancies in the state to discover correlation between the two. We also work closely with a group of featured employers who have invested in HirePaths, and we rely on their insights from the front lines to help guide what we do next. 

We’ve got a secondary goal with HirePaths that’s for the greater good: We want to show young people that they can build a successful, well-paying career without leaving the state of Kansas. By introducing them to leading employers they could work for, cool careers they could pursue and real success stories of people living and working in Kansas, we hope today’s youth will plant roots close to home. 

We hope through HirePaths your family or students will get excited about the breadth of opportunities waiting for those who enter adulthood with in-demand skills. Please follow us @HirePaths and share our videos, articles and posts with the kids in your world. And along the way, please take the time to talk about and process what they learned. After all, as a very important person in the life of a child, you may be their first career counselor. 

Kristin Brighton is a co-owner of New Boston Creative Group LLC and the founder of HirePaths. She is the mom of two teenagers and a member of the USD 383 school board.