- Career Planning
- Preparing in High School
- Career Search
- Applying for a Job
- Experiential Learning
- COVID-19 Updates
Madison has a vision for all students – that they will not only graduate, but graduate with the skills and abilities to be successful in college, career and community.
We want our students to master academic content, build creativity, confidence and cultural competence, gain a strong sense of self and interpersonal skills and have a growth mindset to help them continually build the skills and abilities to be successful. This vision for Madison’s graduates was developed with input from more than 2500 staff, students and community members.
This page is designed to help families and students navigate the world of work (career). You will find information on how to prepare for a career while still in high school, how to research careers to find the right fit for you, how to apply for a job and finally how to find youth employment.
You have many supports and resources right at your school! Your school counselor, Experiential Learning Coordinator, Academic and Career Planning Coordinator and of course your teachers and other staff members can help point you in the right direction when it comes to planning for your future. Start talking to them today!
Preparing in High School
It is never too early to start thinking about careers that interest you. High school is a great time to experiment and try new things. This site will help you discover more about yourself, like your skills and interests and how they can apply to a future career. You will discover opportunities for real-life experiences like internships and apprenticeships while you are still in high school.
There are thousands of options when it comes to finding the right career for you - it can be overwhelming. The good part is you don't have to make a decision right now, you have time to explore your options. On this page you'll discover more information about the variety of pathways that you may choose to follow like military, apprenticeships, the trades, service organizations (like AmeriCorps) and two and four year colleges.
Applying for a Job
Applying for a job can be tricky and intimidating if you have never done it before. This page will walk you through every step of the way. From acing your interview to creating a resume, this site has all the resources you need for nailing the job you want.
Are you looking to earn a little extra cash or maybe get a jump start on your future career. Check out this site to find opportunities you can take advantage of today!
It's never too early to start getting ready for your post high school journey but it can be hard to know where to start.
Below are resources you can use to get ready for your next step while still in high school.
- Graduation Requirements
- Selecting the Right Courses
- Industry Certifications
- Dual Credit
- Career and Technical Student Organizations
- Academic and Career Planning (ACP)
- Career Planning Conversation Starters
The first step to ensuring you are ready for college is graduating from high school! It is essential that you understand exactly what you need to do in order to graduate from high school on time. Check your transcript regularly and speak with your school counselor annually to ensure that you are on the right track! Xello can also help track graduation requirements, log on to see how many credits you have left to take!
How many credits do I need to earn a diploma from MMSD?
Typically, students need somewhere between 22 and 26 credits to earn an MMSD diploma: The exact number of credits needed depends on the type of schedule at your high school (i.e., 7-period, 4-block) and whether you only attend high school in MMSD or transfer into MMSD, sometime during your high school experience, from another school district.
Below you will find the number of credits you need for graduation.
9th-12th grade at East, West, Memorial or Shabazz (all have a 7-period day schedule).
LaFollette Students (due to recent changes in the LHS schedule)
11th grade (class of 2021) - 24 credits
10th grade (class of 2022) - 23 credits
9th grade (class of 2023) - 22 credits
9th - 12th grade having spent 2-3 years at La Follette and the remainder at East, West or Memorial
24-26 credits (see your counselor)
9th - 12th grade at Capital
Graduation by portfolio
12th grade at an MMSD high school but spent some time in 9th-12th grade at a school outside of MMSD
Credits needed vary (see your school counselor)
What Specific Courses Do I Need to Earn my MMSD diploma?
Because of recent revisions to our graduation requirements (Summer 2016), the specific courses that you need to earn a diploma from MMSD varies depending on your grade level. Some variation may also exist for students receiving Special Education services based on their Individualized Education Plan. Please see the information below for more details.
Class of 2021 and beyond
English - 4 credits (Including successful completion of English 1 & 2)
Math - 3 credits (Including coursework in algebraic and geometric concepts)
- Science - 3 credits (Including coursework in biological and physical sciences)
- Social Studies - 3 credits (Including successful completion of US History and a semester of Modern US History)
- Additional Requirements - 1.5 credits PE, .5 credit Health, Civics Exam (65% or higher), 1 credit of Humanities (e.g., Art, Theater, Music, World Language, etc.), .5 credit Financial Literacy
How do I know if I am on track to graduate on time?
It is essential that you monitor your credits to ensure that you are on track to graduate on time. You can do this by viewing your unofficial transcript in Infinite Campus (under Reports). It is recommended that you audit your transcript after each semester to ensure that it is accurate. This Reviewing Your High School Transcript tip sheet will help you know what to look for. Your school counselor is an excellent resource for additional support.
Selecting the Right Courses
Your school counselor, your parents and your teachers are your best resource when it comes to selecting the right courses for you. Each student is traveling a different path so talk to those who know to help you make the best decisions. Below are a few things to keep in mind.
- Challenge yourself - don't take the easy way out (not even your senior year!) Consider taking Career and Technical Education Courses (CTE). These courses are available to EVERYONE!
- Explore - high school is a time to try new things. Check out that coding course, or that small engines class to help you discover your interests and talents.
- Develop your passion- are you passionate about engineering, health sciences or another topic? Consider taking multiple courses in this area throughout your high school career to build your knowledge.
- Meet requirements - make sure the courses you take meet the graduation requirements listed above.
MMSD offers opportunities for students to work toward and/or earn professional Industry Certifications through Career and Technical Education and other courses. These certifications provide evidence of learning and skill development as students transition to post-secondary education and future careers. Examples include: Wisconsin Employability Skills Certificate, Wisconsin Youth Leadership Certificate, NATEF (National Automotives Technicians Education Foundation), SP/2 (Safety and Pollution Prevention), ProStart (National Restaurant Association), Certified Nursing Assistant, ACCT (Assistant Child Care Teacher), Youth Apprenticeship Program.
There are several opportunities for students to earn college credit and high school credit (Dual Credit) at the same time while in MMSD. Some of those our outlined on our College Planning website. Below are opportunities for for our students interested gaining valuable hands on experience as they earn college credits.
Start College Now - Allows high school students the opportunity to take college courses at Wisconsin Technical Colleges. Students interested in taking courses in the fall semester must turn in the application to their high school counselor by March 1 of year year. For spring semester courses, students should submit the application to their school counselor by October 1.
Transcripted Credit Courses - Most of our high schools offer courses for transcripted credit (TC) to Madison College (these credits may transfer to other colleges). See your school's course guidebook or speak to your school counselor for a full listing of these classes. These courses are open to any student, no application is required.
Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) support and enhance both school-based and work-based learning opportunities. CTSOs enable students to achieve both academic and occupational competencies, and to build the individual student's confidence and self-esteem. The Madison Metropolitan School District has active chapters in FBLA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, and SkillsUSA.
Academic and Career Planning
Madison has a goal for all our students to graduate with the skills and abilities to be successful in college, career and community. This goal was developed with feedback from more than 2500 students, teachers and community members. You can see these skills above in what we call the MMSD Graduate Vision. Teachers support student development of Graduate Vision skills as part of the Academic and Career Planning process.
Through Academic & Career Planning students are beginning to answer these questions:
The Career Conversations questions are based on ecosystems theory, counseling theory and an extensive review of counseling and career counseling literature. The questions can be used to work with individuals and groups of students, parents and community members.
- Career Conversation Starters (also available in Spanish)
- High School Career Conversations (also available in Spanish)
- Middle School Career Conversations (also available in Spanish)
- Elementary School Career Conversations (also available in Spanish)
- Postsecondary Academic Career Conversations
- Business and Industry-Partner Career Conversations
General Career Search
Don't know where to start? These resources will help you begin your career search:
Health Science Pathway Career Search
Discover Health Administration - Learn more about Health Care Administration careers in Wisconsin
Information Technology Pathway Career Search
Computer Science Careers - Learn more about all careers in Computer Science (scholarships too)
Top 10 Hot Jobs in South Central Wisconsin
(according to WisConomy, Dept of Workforce Development)
- Software Developers, Applications
- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
- General and Operations Managers
- Registered Nurses
- Accountants and Auditors
- Management Analysts
- Market Research Analytics and Marketing Specialists
- Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
- Public Relations Specialists
- Human Resources Specialists
Finding Your Fit
How do you know if a particular college or career is right for you? The following resources can help you determine what you are looking for in a college and/or career.
Big Future - Open to anyone
University HQ - Open to anyone
Postsecondary Education (College)
67% of MMSD graduates enroll in a two or four year postsecondary institution or college. Our College Planning website is a great place to start to help you through the process of planning for college.
Skilled trades are occupations that require a special skill, knowledge, or ability which can be obtained at a college, technical school, or through specialized training. Skilled trades provide an alternative to jobs that require four years of college education. While skilled trades can be separated into many areas such as manufacturing, technology, energy, and healthcare, they are generally divided into the following three categories:
1. Skilled Industrial Trades: welders, machinists, mechanics, tool and die makers, programmers, for example
2. Skilled Construction Trades: electricians, plumbers, gasfitters, carpenters, bricklayers, technicians, insulators, for example
There are many benefits to joining the military and the benefits can last a lifetime. If you want to serve your country, then a choosing a military career might be for you.
Carer One Stop explains the many options in the five branches of the U.S. armed services.
Today's Military lists each field's careers, required training, daily responsibilities, and associated civilian careers.
Prior to beginning their career journey, many people are looking for the opportunity to serve others, personally grow, and possibly explore different cultures and locations. Being a part of a service organization can help people develop skills and gain contacts which will be helpful in their future careers. There are many options available, but some of the more well known organizations include:
So you've found the perfect job for you. Now it is time to apply. Below are the recommended next steps you need to take to ensure that this job becomes yours! The Madison College Career and Employment Resources Center is a great resource in helping you through this process.
Benefits of Having a Job in High School
- Gain skills for your resume
- Meet new people
- Build self-confidence
- Gain interpersonal and communication skills
- Develop a work ethic
- Learn to manage your time
Creating a Resume
A resume is the first impression that a company will have of you. It is extremely important that it looks professional and that you've highlighted all of your skills and abilities in an impactful way. A resume should include the following headings:
- Name and Contact Information
- Work and/or Volunteer Experience
- References (These are not family members but are adults who can speak to your skills and abilities). It is important to always get permission prior to using someone as a reference.
Here is a great example of a resume for a high school students which includes a great list of words that you may want to include.
Nearly all jobs require you to complete an application. These may be online or pen and paper. Below are a few tips to help you in completing the application to ensure that you are called for an interview:
- Read the entire application before starting
- Be neat and complete (leave no blanks)
- Follow all directions on the application
- Do not use abbreviations (unless a sections is not applicable to you then you may put N/A)
- Proofread (and even have someone else look over the application before submitting)
- Be prepared to include contact information for your References
The interview is probably the most important part of getting hired. This is your time to shine and sell yourself to your future employer. Sharing your strengths and abilities is not considered bragging, it is you convincing this employer that you are the right person for the job. Below are some tips and strategies for acing your job interview:
- Dress nicely (Think clean, pressed and ready to impress!)
- Prepare (Do a little research about the company before your interview.)
- Practice (Role play with someone as you practice answering sample interview questions and prepare your elevator speech)
- Be on time! (In fact, show up 10-15 minutes early for your interview.)
- Shake hands with and Greet the interviewer.
- Be courteous and professional
- Follow up (send a brief thank you email or note a day or two after your interview)
Jobs For Teens HQ is a great resource for finding more information.
Requesting a Transcript
Some jobs may require that you submit your high school transcript. Below are the instructions for requesting your transcript from your school.
How Do I Order a Copy of My Transcript?
Transcripts may be ordered at Parchment.com by Madison Metropolitan School District graduates, guardians of students, and by current students (who are over the age of 18). This electronic service allows you to order transcripts online at any time and track the status of the transcripts that you have requested to be sent. Consult with your counselor determine if you qualify for a fee waiver.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Transcript for Personal Use?
Current Students and their families may download and print a copy of a transcript from Infinite Campus for personal use.
Personal transcripts are not considered official and will not be accepted for admission purposes to colleges and universities, the Common Application, or the NCAA. Most athletic offices, employers, and some scholarship applications will accept a printed copy of the personal transcript.
Transcripts needed for scholarship purposes are free. In order to request an official transcript for scholarship purposes, please contact your counselor.
We're Here to Help
School-based Experiential Learning Liaisons
The School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison is an on-site contact for students to support increased student achievement. The School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison will be the connection between students and the District Experiential Learning Coordinator.
EXPERIENTIAL/WORK-BASED LEARNING LIAISON
- East High School - Rene Avila
- La Follette High School - Amy Schwab
- Memorial High School - Troy Arneson
- West High School - Sarah Quinn
- Capital High - Jovan Recidivic
- Shabazz City High - Elizabeth Long
Experiential Learning Resources
Check out these resources:
If you are interested in hosting a student, from job shadowing to youth apprenticeships, contact our Experiential Learning Coordinator at (608) 663-5203.
- Experiential Learning Continuum
- Work/Volunteer Credit
- Job Shadow/Internships
- School Makes a Difference
- Youth Apprenticeship
Experiential learning is most effective when young people experience a continuum of opportunities throughout their elementary school, middle school, high school and postsecondary years that focus on awareness, exploration, preparation and training.
Spanning the continuum of high quality experiential learning experiences is a range of activities, both in and outside the classroom, which enable students to connect academic and technical content to its ‘real world’ application, and to build 21st century college, career and community readiness skills and competencies.
Students entering grades 9-12 are eligible to earn up to 5 elective credits for approved work-based learning or volunteer experiences. In order to earn elective credit, students must obtain an approved work or volunteer position and complete a work-based learning or youth apprenticeship course in Google Classroom, organized by the school’s designated Experiential Learning Liaison.
Every 45 hours equates to .25 elective credits (credit earned will be added direct to student transcript upon successful completion of experience). At least 90 hours and an employer evaluation must be documented and verified to earn the youth leadership or employability skills certificate.
During COVID, MMSD is doubling the credits per hour (child or home care remains .5 credit per semester). Here is a chart showing credit options during COVID:
Up to 23 hours: .25 credit
23-45 hours: .50 credit
46-68 hours: 75 credit
69-90 hours: 1 credit
If you would like to earn credit for your work or volunteer position, follow these steps:
- Obtain an approved work or volunteer position.
- Connect with your school counselor AND school-based experiential learning liaison to complete required paperwork and enroll in the related course.
- Track your work hours and complete coursework.
A job shadow is a learning experience that takes place at a community organization or workplace. A job shadow provides students with opportunities to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities before deciding where they want to focus their attention. Students learn from professionals about the skills and competencies necessary to be college, career, and community ready. Students will spend between one hour to one full day following an employee, observing what the employee does, and asking about his or her work and the workplace. This is not a credit bearing experience.
During the job shadow experience, students will:
- See the connection between what they learn in the classroom and what they will need to achieve their goals;
- Learn that they have choices in life; observe what people actually do when they are on the job;
- Learn what the "real work world" expects of them—the worker;
- Learn what education and training they will need after graduating from high school to be hired for the job; and
- Hear what compensation and benefits they can expect when they are employed.
If you are interested in a job shadow experience, reach out to a company or professional to set up a shadowing experience. Your teachers or school counselor can help you create a plan for reaching out to a business.
What is the School Makes a Difference (SMAD) Program?
This program is a valuable and meaningful part of cohesive and comprehensive career development for middle school and high school students. Sponsorship of this program is shared by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Career and Technical Education Department of MMSD.
SMAD is an opportunity for students to hear adults talk about their career journey and engage in a brief dialogue with presenters with the continued goal of having speakers represent a variety of jobs, careers, educational levels, non–traditional occupations, and race/ethnic groups.
Do you have a story to share? Contact Tara Wolfe, email@example.com.
Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, is a rigorous one- or two-year elective program for juniors and seniors, that combines academic and technical classroom instruction with mentored, on-the-job training to provide students with industry-established occupational and employability skills. Post-secondary and business partnerships are essential for a successful youth apprenticeship program.
Currently, YA programs are offered in the following areas (click on an individual area to find additional information):
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Program
- Architecture & Construction Program
- Arts, A/V Technology & Communications program
- Finance Program
- Health Science Program
- Hospitality, Lodging & Tourism Program
- Information Technology Program
- Manufacturing Program
- Marketing Program
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Program
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Program
In the news
Checklist to Completing Youth Apprenticeship
STEP 1: Student Application
Students can apply online here to become a youth apprentice anytime during their sophomore year through the end of the 1st semester of their senior year. Interested students can also contact their School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison for more information.
STEP 2: Intake Interview
Once the student completes their application, they will need to meet with the school's Experiential Learning Liaison for an in-person interview.
STEP 3: Get Ready
Student will work with the school liaison to prepare a resume, submit a parent/guardian certification, and review or enroll in related coursework. Students will then work toward gaining employment within their chosen YA career cluster.
STEP 4: Employed
Once a student is employed, they will need to:
- Schedule an ETA meeting within 30 days of employment
- Meet with their school-based experiential learning liaison to join the YA google classroom
- Work with the liaison to schedule quarterly in-person performance evaluations
STEP 5: YA Program Completion
- Student will complete all required Google classroom check-ins, time tracking, in-person meetings and final reflection
- Student will complete a total of 450 hours per year
- Submit a final industry checklist and post survey
Making plans to enter the world of work after high school is typically an exciting time for students, however COVID-19 may have many students rethinking those plans. This site will provide you with updated information as well as tips and strategies for entering the workforce right out of high school during a worldwide pandemic. A website is never a replacement for meaningful conversations, reach out to your school counselors and other trusted adults to guide you through this process during this time.
If you are currently working toward earning Work Based Learning Credit, we have a few updates for you. In order to receive credit you must do the following:
Complete 60% of your check-ins with the Experiential Learning Liaison at your school or complete a final assignment.
Request a final evaluation and hours verification from your employer
Below are the hours required to work to achieve MMSD high school credit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
23-44 Hours = .25 Credits
45-67 Hours = .50 Credits
68-89 Hours = .75 Credits
90-112 Hours = 1.0 Credits
113-134 Hours = 1.25 Credits
134-156 Hours = 1.5 Credits
157-179 Hours = 1.75 Credits
Gov. Evers issued an Emergency Order in March indicating that work permits are not currently required for minors who are hired by a business. See link above for more information and instructions regarding work permits when the public health emergency ends.
Finding Your Career - Tips during COVID-19
Academic and Career Planning - Your ACP experiences have prepared you for this moment! Take some time to reflect on your academic and career planning, visit Xello (log in through your school’s website) to see what careers you’ve saved over the years or revisit your Interest Inventory to help you find the right career fit for you.
UW Madison Success Works - This site provides information for UW students as they seek employment after graduating. It has good information for anyone seeking employment during COVID-19.
Virtual & Phone Interview Prep Guide -- Many employers may have you call in to interview for a job. This website from UW Success Works provides information on how to succeed in your virtual interview.
Comprehensive Networking Guide- Networking is essential to landing your dream internship or job. It also helps with choosing what job or industry you want to work in. But what exactly is networking, and how do you get started?
Virtual Events - including a virtual career fair, mock interviews, and a number of employer engagement opportunities
In-Demand Jobs from the Job Center of Wisconsin - Note: you may need to create a free account to search for jobs in your specific area.
Article: Jobs in Demand During COVID-19
Remote Jobs for High School Students
Free Resume Builder: https://www.livecareer.com/resume-builder
Free Resume Builder: https://www.resume.com/
Article/database: 100 Top Job Interview Questions—Be Prepared for the Interview
Special Education Resource: Opening Doors to Employment
Questions to Ask during a Job Interview - COVID 19
How a company operates during COVID 19 tells you a lot about whether or not you want to work for that organization. Ask the following questions during your interview to help you determine if the company is a good fit for you.
What changes have you made to safety protocols because of COVID-19?
If one of your employees gets COVID-19, what steps will you take to keep the rest of your employees safe?
How do you communicate real-time health updates about COVID-19 with your employees?
What is your sick leave policy? What happens if I (or a close family member) get COVID-19 and need to be quarantined?
COVID 19 ACP Resources for Juniors, Seniors, and their Families - Wisconsin Dept of Public Instruction
Students and families are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Juniors and seniors along with their families may be feeling this more deeply as they prepare for a major life transition upon graduation. Even students who considered their postsecondary plans set may be rethinking their decisions in light of the drastic change in circumstances. Here are some academic and career planning (ACP) resources that can be helpful.
Click on the link above for information about each of these areas.
- Virtual Career Exploration
- Dual Enrollment Updates
- Work Based Learning Requirements
- Understanding Postsecondary Education and Training Options
- Exploring Job Opportunities
- Virtual Service Learning and Volunteering
- College Admissions and Decisions