How do young people plan for a career when they don’t really know what the options are?
There are numerous programs employed by child serving agencies to teach foster youth the some of the skills required to function independently as adults. However, there are not as many opportunities that inspire.
Connect2Careers™ seeks to augment the "functional" training with more "aspirational" experiences designed to shake things up and leave a lasting impression. Experiences deemed aspirational because they 1) expose our youth to people, places and opportunities outside of their current access or understanding and 2) invigorate and expand their view of life’s possibilities. Our goal is to ignite a spark of curiosity and interest in exploring new things; and begin to "flip the script" on their often narrow perception of life’s possibilities. In doing so, we will inspire them to dream bigger and strive to achieve their full potential despite the challenges of living in care.
Youth need non-conventional interventions to fuel dreams and create a desire to attain something great in life. Simply, they must "see" it to want it. Additionally, the exposure will refine and position them for college and other opportunities—and build their comfort and confidence in unfamiliar environments. When youth interface with exceptional people who have excelled in a variety fields, made a tremendous contribution to society or defied odds to be successful, they are primed to "dream big".
That is the purpose of Connect2Careers.
This innovative approach engages businesses and professionals in supporting youth and young adults as they plan for their future. Through these highly energetic and effective sessions, youth have the opportunity to test their interview and networking skills with a myriad of businesses/career representatives. Connect2Careers sessions include professionals from youth-friendly businesses who represent 30-50 potential career options. Some of the businesses that should be represented at Connect2Careers events include banking, security, technology, social work/psychology, health care, communications, fund raising, media such as radio and TV, electrician, plumbing, accounting, carpentry and general contracting, public relations, real estate, law enforcement, fire department, animal science (such as working within a zoo or marina), mechanics, civil engineering.
Modeled after speed dating, each participant is able to spend 7-10 minutes with up to seven career representatives. In addition to learning about a range of career options, the youth meet professionals who often end up staying connected to them, serving as Life Coaches, mentors and door- openers.
Each young person is prepared for the Connect2Careers through Get Ready!™ -- Fedcap’s signature, tested and highly regarded college and career readiness curriculum. By completing the Personal Branding Module of Get Ready! youth come prepared with resume in hand, business cards and skills in informational interviewing.
Connect2Careers provides the opportunity for youth to test these skills in a real world setting.