How do children＊s career aspirations come to reflect the social inequalities among their elders? One theorist, Linda S. Gottfredson, 1996 was interested in explaining how at-risk children come to define themselves professionally and found that career choice is an effort to position oneself in the extensive social order in which the most public, social aspects (i.e., gender, social class, intelligence) play an integral part in this process, rather than the more personal, private elements (i.e., values, personality, siblings, family plans). Given this information, the next question would be, how do we break the cycle of underachievement, poverty, and under education of at-risk youth, so that they can develop educational and career goals that are most suited to their values, interests and abilities? The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of a Cognitive Information Processing (CIP) intervention structured by a standard decision-making tool, the Career Decision Making Tool (CDMT) on the career decision-state of at-risk youth. Impact is defined as the total effects, intentional and unintentional, of administering a human service intervention. Furthermore, the career decision state is defined in terms of (a) the extent to which individuals are certain of their educational and occupational choices and (b)their degree of satisfaction with their choice at a given moment in time (Bullock, Peterson, Lierer & Reardon, 2009). More simply, career decision state is defined in terms of career decidedness (certainty) and satisfaction. This study was implemented as part of an existing summer, community-based prevention and health promotion program, Project K.I.C.K. (Kids in Cooperation with Kids), housed within a local Boy＊s and Girl＊s Club. While seventy-five youth participated in some of the intervention activities, complete data were available for forty-six participants. Forty-six predominately African American (83%) adolescent youth, ages 11 每 18, attending summer camp at a Boy＊s and Girl＊s Club in a medium-sized community in North Florida participated in the intervention. The goals of the CIP interventions are to ensure that the youth are: a) given information and experiences to broaden their educational and career knowledge base; b) prepared to make an informed choice of career; and c) are equipped to develop an educational plan conducive to attaining their career aspirations. The results of this study indicated that, with respect to the development of the occupational goal decision state in terms of decidedness, certainty, or satisfaction, the means did not vary significantly across the observations, pretest, pretest, and posttest. Thus, collectively, the CIP intervention appeared to have no impact on these participants＊ choice of occupational goal. However, the chi-square ratios pertaining to frequencies of decidedness indicated there was a significant shift (p ≒ .05, 聿2 = 32.01, df = 6) in the level of decidedness from pretest 2 to the posttest in that 5 participants indicated a first choice of occupation on the second pretest, but no participants indicated a first choice on the posttest. Thus, there was a shift toward becoming more undecided in terms of occupational goal.
With regard to level of educational choice, satisfaction with choice, and certainty of choice, the CIP intervention had no significant impact on the participants＊ educational goal decision state. Nonetheless, there were changes from the second pretest to the posttest in terms of frequencies of individuals endorsing 求Don＊t know′ and 求BA/BS degrees,′ with the former increasing by 8 participants and the latter decreasing by 8 participants. Thus, as with the case of occupational goals, there is a shift toward becoming more undecided in terms of educational goal as a result of participation in the CIP intervention. On a four-point helpfulness scale where 1 = not helpful, 2 = somewhat helpful, 3 = helpful, and 4 very helpful, the participants expressed that the vast majority of activities were helpful to very helpful in formulating their educational and occupational goals. With respect to the entire CDMT experience in terms of satisfaction, the participants indicated that they were satisfied with the facilitation of educational goals and occupational goals. In conclusion, the implementation of a CIP intervention structured by the CDMT appeared to provide an 求awakening′ experience for many of the participants regarding educational and occupational opportunities. The majority of the participants enjoyed the activities and expressed satisfaction regarding their impact on their educational and occupational goals. It appeared that this was an effective career intervention that could be improved with additional emphasis on preparing for field trips and in processing the experience afterward. The participant＊s responses to this career intervention were highly encouraging.