Nebraska 4-H

Career & College Readiness

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Nebraska 4-H prepares youth to make informed decisions about their careers and college path. Programs assist young people with developing skills that will lead to greater persistence in college and employability. By participating in a college or career readiness program, youth gain awareness of higher education options, identify relationships between careers and 4-H projects, develop college and career readiness skills, aspire to and enroll in higher education, be engaged in on-campus events, and actively explore careers. 

Through career and college readiness programs youth develop important life skills, including:

  • Social skills
  • Stress management
  • Self-discipline
  • Self-motivation
  • Responsibility


4-H programs in this area are focused on providing youth the opportunity develop and practice good decision-making skills. Daily youth are called upon to exercise their decision-making abilities. Two places that Nebraska 4-H has focused their efforts are in the areas of Healthy Living and College and Career Readiness. The Healthy Living programs delivered by Assistants and Educators statewide are designed to build youth’s knowledge about nutrition, physical fitness, healthy relationship and overall wellness. The Career and College Readiness programs focus on informing youth about their post-secondary opportunities and providing them a chance to explore all of the factors that influence that decision. The ultimate goal in each area is to increase their knowledge and provide authentic opportunities to practice the decision making they will encounter in these areas of their life. Feature programs include:

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4-H Healthy Habits Grant

The 4-H Healthy Habits grant, sponsored by National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation, mobilized youth to take action around healthy choices. Over 75 partnerships were developed across 28 counties in Nebraska. More than 2,700 K-12th grade youth received at least six hours of healthy living education.

Extension professionals mentored 54 teen volunteers who then spent over 800 hours helping plan, prepare, and deliver programs in their communities. Teens (n=48) reported giving their family healthy meal or snack ideas (60%) and learning about healthy food choices (91%). From open-ended responses, teens reported learning about cooking skills, trying new things, and living a healthier lifestyle.

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots, an interactive career exploration simulation program tripled the number of youth reached, engaging over 4,700 9th- and 10th-grade students in opportunities to learn about careers of interest as well as how to “connect the dots” from 9th grade, through post-secondary, to the workplace.

As a result of the Connecting the Dots program:

  • 97% think it is important that they do their job well.
  • 84% learned how to act professionally.
  • 80% say 4-H has helped them identify things they are good at and explore their future career options.
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Next Chapter at Nebraska

Next Chapter, a college readiness program and a UNL pre-admittance program, is offered to 8th-grade students enrolled in 4-H. Throughout high school, pre-admitted students engage in events, activities, and curriculum during which they will learn how to successfully transition from high school to college. In two years, Next Chapter has served over 1,800 youth in all five Extension Districts. Coming in 2019, 120 Omaha Bryan High School Freshmen will receive pre-admission letters as part of the first Omaha Public School Next Chapter Retreat. The Next Chapter program is also growing through partnerships in Tennessee, Illinois, and New Mexico.

Next Chapter Program