Boys & Girls Clubs focus on preparing tomorrow’s workforce
Tomorrow’s doctors, scientists, civic leaders and computer programmers begin developing the critical skills for workplace success even before trading in their crayons. At Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an evidence-based approach to workforce readiness allows youth to explore the world of work as early as 6 years old.
“The trajectory looks different at every age group,” says Terri Fishback, senior director and youth development strategist at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in a recent interview on Comcast Newsmakers. “There are activities that we use at the Boys & Girls Club to engage young people in skill development so if you are 6 to 8 years old, we are talking about what it means to be a fireman or what it means to drop the mail off.”
Trained youth development professionals and mentors continue to develop the talents and interests of young people as they mature into high school. By ages 13 to 15, teens are learning to prepare a resume, write a cover letter and practice for job interviews.
Boys & Girls Clubs tailor the skills development programs for the types of jobs available in their area, such as manufacturing, welding, logistics or computer science and technology. Clubs aim to offer teens real-life work experiences and opportunities to earn certifications and credentials before high school graduation.
Many Club teens are hired for their first job by This Way Ahead, a career readiness program sponsored by Gap Inc. Newly-hired teens participate in job training for 12 weeks and receive mentorship from a job coach while they are working.
“Whether (young people) are going to a 4-year degree in college or a 2-year trade school, we want to make sure we are setting them up to be successful in whichever route they choose,” Fishback says.