The Nebraska Department of Education

A Growing Leaders Case Study

Middle & High School Case Studies > Nebraska Department of Education

Providing Supportive Curriculum to the Nebraska Career Readiness Standard for Nebraska High Schools

A representative from the Nebraska Board of Education discusses how Habitudes helped high school teachers better prepare their students to become successful members of the workforce. Learn how “Habitudes for Career Readiness” provided faculty members with an effective curriculum with the goal of making the concepts in the Nebraska Career Readiness Standard resonate better with students.

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Video Transcription

Cory Epler, Senior Administrator for Teaching & Learning, Nebraska Department of Education: When we started thinking about how we can provide support for schools, as it relates to the Nebraska Career Readiness Standard, we were really seeking that would help the concept stick. I’ve had experience with Habitudes and Growing Leaders over the course of my career, and Rich Katt and I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if we could use Habitudes to help anchor the NCRS”. And that’s what it was all about. It was helping us really think about what would make the concepts within the NCRS stick with students.  We know the power of an image, and we know about the power of Habitudes. So, we reached out to Growing Leaders and began dreaming about this project. It came full circle when we had the book, “Habitudes for Career Ready Students”, in our hands.


Habitudes for Career Ready Students is part of a total package that we have in Nebraska, whether it’s an “engage” curriculum (which is a full semester in career development) or it’s the Habitudes resources themselves. We’re trying to equip our teachers as much as possible for what they experience when students come to them lacking these skills. And again, the thing that we are most passionate about is that it has to be a very intentional process. Career readiness doesn’t just “happen”. If we want students to learn about problem solving or teamwork or creativity, we have to have intentional and explicit conversations with them; that is one of the things that Habitudes has allowed us to do. It creates the language that helps teachers have those intentional conversations that are built on those career readiness skills.


I continue to hear, in passing, when students speak the language. The other day I was in my office and I overheard one of our student leaders we have in the office talking about “Bikes and Birds”. And I knew immediately what she was talking about because she was talking about one of the Habitudes. And then, from there, it’s not just that they can reference the image. It’s that they own the metaphor; they own the concept. So, that’s one of the things that I think is most powerful about Habitudes for Career Ready Students. We’re not asking students to learn the image, we are asking them to learn the concept that the image represents. So again, it’s that metaphor that anchors the content.


We know that brain research tells us that this promotes retention, that it promotes application, and that it promotes extension into authentic settings. Our commissioner of education in Nebraska, he talks about every student during every day. And I applaud those schools who’ve said that Habitudes for Career Ready Students are not just for students that are entering the workforce or pursuing a two-year degree; it’s for all students. No matter if you’re pursuing a degree in medicine, or to become a lawyer, or a nurse, or to go into welding these skills are critical for your success. And, more importantly, we know that they’re critical for Nebraska’s economic growth and for the continued development of our workforce. We take that really seriously and we think that is really important.