RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill that would require North Carolina students to have a career development plan in place is moving forward in the state legislature. Senate Bill 193 passed in the Senate on Tuesday and is now being considered in the House.

If passed, the bill would require students to complete a career development plan by the conclusion of the seventh grade. After a few years, students would then revise this plan before their junior year of high school.

Teachers like Kim Mackey say career development is already happening in North Carolina public schools.

“All this bill is, is saying fill out this paper to prove you’re doing what you’re already doing,” said Mackey.

Mackey teaches seniors at Green Hope High School in Cary. Before working with high school students, she worked in a middle school, and says she’s concerned this process could bring additional stress to students.

“This notion that somehow a seventh grader needs to start filling out a career development plan when they have such limited experience, it really imposes this level of pressure that somehow they should know exactly what they want to do,” she said.

Lawmakers in support of the bill say exposing younger students to career opportunities could help reduce the rate of school dropouts.

“It’s really important to start exposing kids to careers as early as middle school,” said Senator Michael Lee, one of the primary sponsors of the bill.

Lee also stressed that the program won’t force students down a particular career path.

“We’re giving them the opportunity to learn about a lot of different careers and the opportunity to explore,” he said. “And, you know, they may think they want to do something in seventh grade. And as they start to explore that in seventh and eighth grade, they say, wow, that’s not what I thought it was.”

If ultimately passed, the career development plans would include a self-assessment of a student’s skills and career interests. This information would help school districts set up potential career paths, including options for extracurricular activities and higher education recommendations.

The bill passed in the State Senate on Tuesday nearly unanimously, with 49 “yea” votes and one absence.