OSHKOSH, Wis.- How young is too young? That's the question some parents are asking as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) tells schools kids need to start thinking about a career by sixth grade. It's part of a new Academic and Career Planning (ACP) mandate that DPI is implementing fall 2017.
Hundreds of manufacturing leaders gathered Thursday for an annual conference at UW-Oshkosh to discuss K-12 programs. They're figuring out how to be more involved as business leaders with DPI's new initiative.
"As low as kindergarten and grade school, there will be types of events that might start with some type of LEGO building thing and by the time they're in high school it turns into a robotic thing," said director of manufacturing systems for Sargento Foods, Bill Bartnik.
School leaders say the purpose for the mandate is simple.
"They need to be exploring who they are, where they want to go and what that means for them post secondary," said Oshkosh Area School District director of curriculum and assessment, Julie Mosher.
The Mishicot School District is a pilot school for the program.
"It's definitely not where we want a fifth or sixth grader to pick I want to be this and I have to track that through high school. It's more about self-awareness and how does that turn into a career," said Mishicot School District academic advisor, Marci Kuhn.
However for Dick LaPlant of Ashwaubenon he says although he understands the need to think about a career early, he's not so sure this is the best solution.
"Well I think it's kind of young I think," said LaPlant.
Several school districts say they've already begun putting this plan into place. Part of this mandate would also have parents sitting in with school counselors several times throughout their child's education to make sure their students stay on a career path.