How to Explore 2023’s Hottest Careers with Youth and Teens

Wrapping up Workforce Development Month, BGCA’s Erica Warren is back with the HEAT!

September is Workforce Development Month, which presents an excellent opportunity to explore some new and exciting career paths with young people. Today, we look at three of the top careers in 2023 and provide some ideas for exploring these careers with young people.

Data Engineer or Cloud Engineer 

What it is: According to Coursera, “data engineers work in a variety of settings to build systems that collect, manage, and convert raw data into usable information for data scientists and business analysts to interpret. Their ultimate goal is to make data accessible so that organizations can use it to evaluate and optimize their performance.” A cloud engineer helps organizations build and maintain cloud infrastructure to support collaboration and information security better. 

Average Salary: Data Engineer – $136,000, Cloud Engineer – $134,000 

Degree Requirements: Both fields require similar educational backgrounds, including a bachelor’s degree in Applied Math, Computer Science, Physics, or Engineering. A cloud engineer may also need a Master of Science 

Ways to explore this career with young people: Many people start off as software engineers or business intelligence analysts. One way to explore this career with young people is to invite people along this career path for a panel discussion. Another idea is to have young people start to become familiar with coding languages. You can make it fun by hosting a code-a-thon. If you are not already exploring coding with your youth, be on the lookout for the Google CS First Badge coming soon to MyFuture

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Nurse/Mental Health Nurse 

What it is: Mental health nurses care for people who are experiencing mental or behavioral health conditions. They work in various settings, from hospitals to military and correctional facilities.

Average Salary: $68,100+ 

Degree Requirements: Become a Registered Nurse with an associate (2-year) or bachelor (4-year) degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Additional certifications in psychiatry or specific mental health disorders may be important for a mental health nurse. 

Ways to explore this career with young people: You can have some simple fun with an Ace Wrap Relay. In an Ace Wrap Relay, you divide the group into two or more groups and have a couple of young people serve as impartial judges. Each group needs one long ace bandage and a doll to wrap. Each team member will wrap and unwrap a body part (ankle, wrist, or elbow) of the doll. When the youth finishes wrapping a body part, they will call for a judgment from the youth judges, who will give a thumbs up or down. If they get a thumbs up, they can unwrap and pass the bandage to the next team member like a baton, and the next team member will wrap the next body part. Also, check out this Day in the Life video of a psych nurse who works in forensic psychiatry. Mental health nurses focus primarily on the brain. Check out these MyFuture activities that teach about the brain and how it works. 

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Environmental Engineer 

What it is: Environmental engineers work in the STEM field to protect the environment and human health and promote sustainability. With global temperatures on the rise, environmental engineer careers are expected to grow 6% by 2032, which is faster than the average rate for all other occupations.  

Average Salary: $80,000 

Degree Requirements: Environmental engineers typically obtain a bachelor in environmental engineering and obtain an additional certification by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.  

Ways to explore this career with young people: Your Club’s green space may be the key to exploring environmental engineering with youth. A simple idea is to create rain catchers. Check out this video on creating an easy DIY rainwater catchment system. You can also create homemade with gravel, charcoal, and sand in recycled water bottles. Engage youth in conversations about the environmental problems they see in their neighborhoods and how they might solve them. You can elevate this by helping them design a solution that meets the needs of their community. For more environment-based ideas, check out the Environmental Science tag here on the ClubX Blog.

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These are just a few of the exciting careers you can explore with young people this month and throughout the year. Also, check out the newly refreshed Career Launch program on and the new Workforce Readiness Community on 

What are your favorite Workforce Preparedness programs and activities? What careers are your youth interested in? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email

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