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Career Tree®

Inspire and empower students to complete their course of study—and thrive.

Why It Works

Today, the world has changed—and so have students. Generation Z is now the first generation in history that demands personal purpose and relevance for everything they do. These non-negotiables must be fulfilled before they will move forward in their education and career journey.

To harness this unique generational dynamic, we’ve created a groundbreaking approach to enrolling, engaging, and completing students: the Career Tree.

Born of years of experience and research, the Career Tree is the first generationally focused solution to address these challenges for young people everywhere. Whether you’re an educator, employer, or community leader, the Career Tree delivers a fresh vision for purpose-driven education and passion-driven employment.


To change the game, we must tell a powerful story to students, parents, employers, and communities. The story must focus on the big-picture outcome—the fully developed pipeline between education with purpose leading to employment with passion.

The Career Tree tells this story, punctuates the value, and brings diverse goals and objectives into alignment across the board—so that real action is the next step.

The Career Tree has absolutely transformed our narrative in the community. Students, parents, and stakeholders now see how our programs are the on-ramp to opportunity. For us, everything starts with the Career Tree.

CyLynn Braswell, Former Executive Director for College & Career Readiness and Innovation at Northwest ISD

How It Works

Through years of advising top-level education and business clients, we discovered a simple truth: ongoing dialogue is the secret to meaningful career exploration for this generation.

The Career Tree is a conversation-driven strategy that motivates young people to think about the lifestyle they want to live—and the career that would make it possible. Dialogue, research, and self-discovery help move young people out of static purpose mode where they’re standing still, into active purpose where they are taking steps toward a bright future.

The Career Tree inspires them to perform at a higher level, set career and lifestyle goals, and build a dynamic competitive advantage—because they want to.

The Career Tree has been an amazing tool that makes instruction easier and more relevant to students today. I’ve never before seen such great dialogue in the classroom.

Melissa Conner, Director at Stafford Technical Center

In the classroom, the Career Tree:

  • Sparks students’ internal motivation with the Light at the End of the Tunnel strategy
  • Shifts students from a class-taking mentality to a program completion mentality
  • Shows students the relevance of their education to the life they want to live upon completion
  • Helps students overcome decision paralysis by choosing a relevant “for-now” career direction
  • Empowers students to complete their program with a dynamic competitive advantage

The Career Tree is a fantastic way for students to see career paths and how to get there.

Jacqueline Giacalone, Business Teacher at William Floyd High School

In the community, the Career Tree:

  • Delivers a compelling narrative to shift people’s thinking about education and careers
  • Connects the dots and builds pipelines between education and employment
  • Gets more of the right students, in the right programs and pathways, for the right reasons
  • Partners with industry to align instruction with real-world careers
  • Showcases the dynamic competitive advantage your organization delivers

The Story It Tells

Many people simply don’t know about the myriad of different ways to get the skills and training for the real world of work. The Career Tree allows you to tell a fresh story to parents, employers, community leaders, and other stakeholders about how your organization prepares young people to make the most of their journey.

The Career Trees in every classroom, as well as our hallway, have created tremendous opportunities to share the value of our programs with parents, legislators, and community leaders.

Debra S. Heban, Former Director, Career & Technical Education at Whitmer Career & Technology Center

Who It’s For

The Career Tree is used today in high schools, middle schools, K–12 districts, special needs classrooms, technical and community colleges, universities, workforce development settings, adult education centers, and many others across North America.

For the student, the outcome becomes clear, personal, and relevant to the effort needed to achieve it. This creates and delivers education with purpose,

driving significantly more students to completion at all levels of education and experience.

Whether they’re headed to college, specialized postsecondary training, the military, or directly into the workforce, the Career Tree equips young people to go with purpose, build a powerful competitive advantage—and thrive in a fast-changing world. And it’s easy to implement.

Every day, teachers are using the Career Tree to foster student success and completion based on each student’s own unique interests, talents, and abilities. The power of this ongoing, seamless dialogue, through the conduit of a teacher/student human connection, is an outcome-focused common ground that drives ongoing action and engagement.

We have found that the Career Tree integrates smoothly with our existing curriculum. It’s not something we have to add to already-packed lesson plans; it works within those lessons to bring relevance to the learning experience.

Jeremy Beardmore, Assistant Superintendent at Mid-East Career & Technology Centers

What You Get

In addition to customized Interactive Wall Graphics in every classroom, your staff will receive robust classroom worksheets and materials branded in your logo and colors. With engaging, video-based training, a comprehensive Curriculum Guide, and ongoing support, we empower you with 24/7 access to all the best practices and tools to use your Career Trees to the fullest.

We also offer dynamic professional development to get your organization not just informed, but inspired to implement the Career Tree. Our founder, Mark Perna, will lead your staff in an eye-opening journey into the mind of the younger generations and how the Career Tree can

bring new relevance, purpose, and motivation to their learning experience.

Mark also gives priority scheduling to Career Tree clients to shift the larger paradigm around education and careers in their communities. Through strategic planning, in-depth consulting, and riveting, community-wide keynote presentations, Mark will inspire your stakeholders to rethink what education should deliver to every student.

Finally, we would be excited to spotlight your Career Tree success story on the national stage as part of Mark’s regular keynotes to national and statewide audiences.

Sneak Peek: Training

To shift the paradigm, we must first shift our own mindset. The following two videos are the first in a robust training series delivered by Career Tree creator Mark C. Perna. With a fresh generational perspective, practical examples, and an inspiring big-picture view, Mark ensures that every educator can leverage the Career Tree for maximum impact in their learning environment. Watch now for a sneak peek into why and how the Career Tree is shifting the education paradigm.


The Career Tree has inspired the creation of a planning culture that starts in 6th grade and extends through post-secondary education. We’re shifting the paradigm to understand that our programs lead to thousands of viable career opportunities for all students.

Nichole Spearman-Eskelsen, CTE Director at Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Oregon

Success Stories

Thousands of students and trainees across North America are using the Career Tree to expand their options and opportunities. Here are a few real-world results our clients are experiencing.

OSTC Oakland Schools Technical Campuses Career Tree Case Study

Next-Gen Career Exploration at Oakland Schools Technical Campuses

The Career Tree has broadened student horizons while helping OSTC comply seamlessly with new state legislation.

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York Tech College & Career Ready Case Study

Creating Future Ready Students with the Career Tree at York Tech

At York Tech, the Career Tree has transformed the narrative around career-focused education in the community.

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A Parent Speaks Out on the Career Tree

“The Career Tree is an enormous symbol of hope, thoughtful ideas and the love of children in your care.”

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Get In Touch

Contact us today to find out how the Career Tree can change the narrative in your community and empower your students with a dynamic competitive advantage. We look forward to connecting with you!

Reach Out Today

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