CAREER PATHWAYS | City of Ideas
Issue to be Addressed:
For low and very-low income, high risk youth of color in Boston, career pathway exploration is not a priority and comes too late in the educational process to be able to make significant changes to one's life plan. We need to begin this exploration in middle school and include career exploration (research), discussion, matching personality and skills to opportunities, arrange for job shadows every year, and creating a detailed life plan that youth can refer to often, as a way to stay on track.
Bird Street Community Center proposes to partner with JA of Northern New England and "Young Men's Success Series", a group of professional men of color in Boston, to introduce 3 cohorts of middle school boys of color to career pathway exploration, personality and interest discussions, guest speakers series, individual mentoring, job shadows, and creating achievable life plans over the course of a school year. The 3 groups will represent in-school extended learning time, an after school setting at Bird Street, and an expanded in-school model. Each group will utilize the same JA material and outline of activities.
We hope to learn that all models can achieve positive results and we plan to track what happens as a result of the experience.
Role of Collaboration:
Junior Achievement has developed an outstanding curriculum model which will serve as the foundation for the work. JA also has successful in-school partnerships in Boston Public Schools. Bird Street has been partnering with Junior Achievement to enhance the area of career pathway exploration for the past 2 years. Young Men's Success Series members have worked with our boys and young men in a very successful project last year. This group is made up of 40 professional men in their 30s-50s who want to mentor future leaders. The partners will work closely together to plan, implement, evaluate, tweak, and document the project.
Too many boys begin to show signs of failure in middle school. We will use the award to give the boys encouragement from mentors with whom they can identify; an interactive curriculum that is exciting, experiential, and generates discussion and research; real job shadow experiences that can help the boys broaden their options; and guidance in creating a detailed life plan that the boys can follow and adjust as they go through middle school, high school, and post secondary education. The award will allow us to document the program and engage an outside evaluator to give us feedback and assessment. We will invite potential future funders to observe the process, in order to get future support for tracking . If the project is successful, we can develop sequential models for the boys as they transition into higher grades and intensify the job shadows with short internships. With analyzed data, we can determine which of the models offers a better delivery system or tweak the models to make all of them viable.
Bird Street has a long history of providing gender specific programming for boys and young men of color in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. We have also trained one of our youth workers to run our Junior Achievers Programs here at Bird Street and at the Clarence Edwards Middle School in Charlestown. We will use her experience to design the program around a gender specific model for the boys. We believe that using this group of professional men who have a mission to support boys will allow us to access a broad array of male role models who represent the private sector and many careers. We also have had excellent feedback from our youth as to the JA material. It complements the career pathway exploration very well.
Andrea Kaiser is the Executive Director of Bird Street. She has more than 40 years of experience working with non-profits and youth development. Bird Street is a full-service youth center serving children and youth, ages 5-22 with all of the supports that lead to productive adulthood: academics, leadership, workforce development and employment, life skills, group and individual mentoring, arts and humanities, community service, recreation and organized sports.
Emily Neill is the President of JA Northern New England. She served as President of Constellation Energy, Inc., and Vice President for Development at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Junior Achievement's mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Using hands-on experiences, JA helps to prepare young people for the real world by fostering skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship.
Dedric Polite, Executive Board Member, Young Men's Success Series is a seasoned marketing professional. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry and in high-tech, he is now using his entrepreneurial talents to launch his own marketing enterprise.
Young Men's Success Series (YMSS) provides young men of color with life skills workshops designed to maximize their life chances for success. The mission is to create success pathways for young men of color through professional, social and personal development. YMSS is an organization aimed at empowering young minority men in Boston to make better decisions. YMSS members attend workshops two Saturdays a month to learn about holistic success in all areas of their academic, professional, and social live.