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Possible Futures

April 18, 2018

At a Glance

JFF’s Possible Futures prepares learners in grades 6 through 10 for the future.

Jonathan Payne Director
Kyle Hartung Associate Vice President
Practices & Centers Topics

Access and exposure to productive, family-supporting work play a critical role in our lives. However, as the labor market changes, fewer educators and families have what they need to keep pace and help young learners envision and plan for their future careers. Too many young people do not have access to the guidance and experiences that will open many possibilities for their futures.

JFF’s Possible Futures provides career exploration for learners in grades 6 through 10, with a vision that every young person will gain the foundational knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to make critical decisions about their future with confidence.

Through Possible Futures, young people can better understand future career opportunities and start preparing for them in middle school, when it can make a big difference to their engagement and sense of agency. Given where adolescent children are developmentally, there is a major opportunity for students to develop employability skills and gain a sense of their interests through career exploration in middle school and early high school.

Get JFF's updated flagship Possible Futures Career and Exploration Curriculum today
Get the Curriculum

Possible Futures includes:

  • Our updated, digital Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum with lessons on:
    • STEM occupations and careers
    • Employability skills
    • Exploration through the lenses of Self, Security, and Society
  • Services including professional development and coaching services for educators, strategic planning, advising, and capacity building for school systems, afterschool networks, and other partners
  • Informational guides on:

JFF’s Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum helps learners in grades 6 through 10 develop essential employability skills, explore STEM occupations, and better understand themselves and the world of work.

We updated our flagship curriculum for school year 2021-22.

This new, digital version of the curriculum is learner-centered, research-based, and developmentally appropriate. Every lesson is interactive and allows for in-person, remote, or hybrid learning with synchronous and asynchronous engagement. The curriculum can be used in classroom, out-of-school, and in extended learning time settings.

The curriculum covers:

  • Employability Skills for Success: Learners develop essential employability skills through 12 lessons on growth mindset, collaboration, communication, and self-regulation.
  • STEMploration: Learners explore the roles of STEM professionals through four units (12 lessons each) on Information Technology, Health Sciences, Cybersecurity, and Engineering. They tackle challenges based on relevant, real-world problems.
  • Lenses on the Future: Learners chart a path to future success through the lenses of Self, Security, and Society. Through 12 lessons, they identify their personal interests and strengths, research various colleges and careers, consider the life they want to lead, and explore potential ways they can contribute to society.

What You Get

The curriculum consists of six units that help learners: develop essential employability skills, explore STEM occupations (four units), and better understand themselves and the world of work.

Each unit includes:

  • 12 lessons, each providing 45 minutes of learning time
    • Lessons are provided as SCORM files for easy use in your Learning Management System
  • Learner worksheets in a fillable PDF format
    • Worksheets are also embedded within the SCORM file for each lesson
  • Facilitator guide for each lesson with:
    • Lesson overview for educator
    • Lesson materials
    • How-to guide for both educators and learners on using Flipgrid for asynchronous interactive engagement
    • Extension and in-person activities
    • Recommendations for shortened learning experiences (for example, a three-lesson series on employability skills)
  • How-to guide for using SCORM files

More About the Curriculum

The Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum is designed so that educators do not have to be experts in the career fields or topics covered. They can approach the content from a facilitative stance and focus on fostering learner engagement.

The Possible Futures Career and Exploration Curriculum is, and will always be, offered free of charge to make this important learning opportunity accessible to all learners. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

Possible Futures Helps K-12 and Afterschool Leaders

Make Career Exploration Accessible, Equitable, and Engaging

Traditional career exploration is not universally accessible and often occurs too late. While youth from an affluent background may learn about high-wage careers through their families’ networks, youth from families with fewer material resources often don’t get these same opportunities.

Possible Futures extends career exploration and preparation to all young people during their middle school years and beyond. This ensures that every young person can learn about careers in high-wage, high-demand industries and access key information for the future, rather than leaving it to chance within an inequitable society.

Possible Futures intentionally opens many possibilities to young learners and supports building a strong foundation for systems of career-connected learning. It pairs a comprehensive exploration of career options with skill-building and a basic introduction to the world of work so that youth can make informed decisions at key stages in their education and career paths.

Build a System for Career Exploration

While any educator can use the JFF Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum with learners, the program is most effective when it’s part of a broader system of career exploration, navigation, and pathways. It builds the foundation for young people to successfully take on progressively more demanding work-based learning opportunities and engage in college and career pathways at various stages of their education.

  • Before they even enter high school, learners have already explored potential career opportunities, developed a strong sense of their own identities and strengths, and developed age-appropriate employability skills.
  • In high school, learners can understand and apply key concepts that will help them make choices to launch productive, meaningful careers that align with their interests and goals. They are also prepared to engage in more intensive work-based learning activities like job shadows, internships, and work-based courses.
  • After high school, they are prepared to earn the postsecondary credentials they need to launch successful careers in high-wage, high-demand fields that provide opportunities for advancement.

Move Beyond Compliance to Make an Impact

Possible Futures goes beyond traditional career and technical education to make career exploration a common, compelling piece of learners’ educational experience. This helps states, districts, schools, and your partners move beyond compliance to meaningful action so you can better support your learners to achieve future success.

It can help you meet mandates and requirements, such as Education and Career Action Plans and career literacy standards. You can also leverage Perkins Reserve Funding to build the beginning of stronger talent pipelines through Possible Futures.

JFF offers services to support the launch and scaling of Possible Futures in a variety of settings and contexts, including:

  • Developing the strategy for implementation and connecting Possible Futures to college and career exploration standards and policies
  • Training and professional development
  • Site-based coaching
  • Connecting the curriculum to your local labor market and state or district standards and policies

Our support services have the greatest impact for K-12 leaders at the district, regional, or state level that develop and follow standards and policies to build career exploration capacity into systems, rather than for a single school or afterschool program.

To learn more about JFF's Possible Futures and the services we offer, contact us at
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