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Workforce Readiness Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro to Tech Startup

Boys & Girls Club Teens Learn Coding for First Tech Job

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What if being a young job-seeker added value to a company instead of standing in the way of success? Hector A. and Victor R. from Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro proved that fresh ideas and diverse voices – especially from the youngest workers in the office – were key drivers for a tech startup company backed by Nike.

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Because of workforce readiness programs at their Boys & Girls Club, Hector and Victor arrived at their first tech job with hard skills like coding, essential skills such as communication and problem-solving, and the mindset that they could learn and grow as young professionals.

The two teens were among the many young people who benefited from TalentPath, an initiative from Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro in partnership with online tech school Treehouse. The program fast tracks teens, especially underrepresented people of color and women, through tech education and a 3-month internship on the way to a full-time job with a tech company.

Through the Club’s TalentPath program, Victor and Hector attended online coding school at no cost. Then, they applied their skills on the team building Nike Adventure Club, a premier youth footwear subscription service. Their training and experience allowed them to work along teams on existing projects, where they added new ways of thinking to move ideas forward.

They also participated in YouthForce, another workforce readiness program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro that provides hands-on, paid work experience for underserved youth. One of the three components of the Club’s YouthForce program allows teens to build essential customer service and communication skills through entry-level positions in the guest services divisions of the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns professional soccer teams.

“My Club’s workforce programs definitely played a huge role in developing my essential skills like communication. Learning to work and communicate with others was crucial for me to grow professionally in my career and my everyday life,” Hector said. “Another skill that I developed and take pride in is a learning mindset. Being able to develop the mindset to be eager to learn and experience new things is critical to grow as a person.”

With the long-term socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still unknown, Matthew Heady, senior director of teen services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro said it’s more important than ever that young people build essential skills and explore careers. Workforce readiness programs at Boys & Girls Clubs help build a more equitable and inclusive workforce.

“Workforce programming is essential because it doesn't have an end date. Many of the goals that we encourage young people to set have an end goal. Make that varsity team. Graduate from high school. Get that scholarship. Workforce development is different in that it instills a lifelong process,” said Matthew.

Learn more about how Boys & Girls Clubs of America is doing whatever it takes to build tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and problem-solvers.

Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s workforce programs.

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