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News | March 12, 2021

Career Exploration Program expands online options to help students with no cost, obligation

By Jason Schaap USAREC Public Affairs

It’s not just about finding a job. It’s about finding the right job – a job in which a student will enjoy exploring and succeeding, whether it’s inside or outside the military.

That is the mission of Dr. Shannon Salyer, director of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program. Her mission begins with the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, the Defense Department’s long-time test for determining a person’s strengths and abilities.

Yes, the ASVAB is “how we predict success in military occupational training,” Salyer said, but CEP is a free service for high schoolers nationwide, whether they want to join the military or not.

All ASVAB results now come with an access code to use inside the ASVAB CEP website. That code is the key that opens a door to a world of post-test activities, information, options, and guidance. Central to the CEP experience is the “Find Your Interest” inventory, a list developed from a series of questions that build on ASVAB results.

CEP is “not just about what you are good at, it’s also what you might like,” Salyer said.

The FYI inventory is geared toward finding job satisfaction. Larane Guthrie-Clarkson, chief of education for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, offered a few examples of what FYI questions aim to determine: Are you investigative? Do you like working with your hands? Are you social? Are you enterprising?

FYI questions have no right or wrong answers. You “don’t put thought into it,” Guthrie-Clarkson said. “You either like something, dislike something, or you don’t care one way or the other.”

Army recruiters are among the many trained to help students and parents navigate the FYI and other CEP processes. And like taking the ASVAB, receiving guidance from a recruiter comes with no cost or obligation to join the military.

“Recruiters get to walk them through potential careers, whether they are civilian or military,” Guthrie-Clarkson emphasized.

Taking that walk can now be done in-person or via a virtual option that was greatly expanded in the wake of pandemic conditions. The initial ASVAB portion of CEP is still administered in-person because test and score integrity is so vital to the military mission.

Schools have successfully navigated continuing ASVAB testing under COVID conditions, Salyer said, though much interest has been expressed in developing alternatives to accommodate current realities. “We are always looking at other options,” she added.

The online post-test portion of CEP is not only vast, it extends well beyond career exploration inside the military. Every career identified by the U.S. Department of Labor is included, Salyer said, as well the many paths to get to those careers.

“We’ve been able to incorporate not only college and scholarship information, (but also) credentialing information, apprenticeship information, as well as military information,” Salyer said. “Students can see what plan A, or plan C, or what plan XYZ may end up being for them.”

More than 13,000 schools participated in CEP during the 2019-to-2020 school year. Nearly 3.5 million students have participated in the program in the preceding five years.

Kathy Hassler, assistant principal at Cumberland County High School in Tennessee, has seen many of her students benefit from the ASVAB process.

“There’s this stigma that it’s just a military test,” Hassler said, “but, in my opinion, it’s the best career test.”



Click here to access the official ASVAB CEP website



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