Project Who Am I helping teens choose ideal careers

Oie and Nya Dobier.

When Oie Dobier's daughter Nya was looking at colleges in her sophomore year of high school, she realized it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Oie said, “I asked myself, 'Where do you start?' Looking at the career first is the wrong approach. We should start looking at who she is as a person and what she values first before she chooses a career,” Nya’s mother said. “And that’s pretty much when Project Who Am I began.”

Oie, her husband Darren, and Nya, of Stillwater, launched the online program, Project Who Am I, in February.

“It's an online self-discovery, self-paced program for struggling teenagers to help them find their ideal career and help them discover who they are as a person,” Oie said. “Each week they have self-reflection exercises to do. We have it set up where they form a small support group and usually a parent facilitates the group session and the group is a sounding board to say what they learned about themselves.”

Darren does most of the technical part of the program, and the mother-daughter team, Oie and Nya, are the voice of the business.

“Understanding the teen perspective is very important for this program, and it’s really empowering because they think different than us,” Oie said. “Parents and students are getting both perspectives in the program.”

Students have a a weekly check-in with Nya, the accountability coach for the program.

“I hold the students accountable and make sure they did everything they were suppose to do that week. I ask them how their group session went, how their self-reflection is going and what they discovered about themselves,” Nya said. “They get to hear what their peers have to say without their parents looking over their shoulder.”

The program takes four to six weeks to complete and is based on four modules: discover the student's natural talents, discover the student's values, identify the student's interests, and making it real. “We made it so that it’s not a big ordeal, but it has a lot of meat to it,” Oie said.

Oie said the Project Who Am I program has received positive feedback so far. Students from Minnesota and around the country are participating.

According to Oie, after the program is completed, students will walk away with:

An understanding of their natural talents and strengths and careers best suited for someone like them.

Knowledge of how their current interests and passions can be applied to their career search.

Insight into what they truly value in life and how to seek out occupations and employers that share in their values.

Their work preferences and how important they can be in overall career satisfaction.

A framework around how to evaluate new careers as their interests, values and preferences evolve with more knowledge and life experiences.

An action guide on how to further explore their career choices.

According to Oie, throughout the program most parents develop a closer relationship with their student by mentoring them through this stressful, transitional time and achieve a peace of mind knowing their student is basing their educational and career choices on the right things.

“Our program assumes that the parent is highly involved, because they are purchasing the program and facilitating the group session for their student,” Oie said. “We have facilitator guides to help the student and their parent(s) have a stronger relationship and connection.”

For more information on Project Who Am I, go to www.projectwhoami.com.

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