Exposing Young People to Real Career Options
Drawing on the YWCA Greater Los Angeles’ program philosophy to approach training holistically while integrating multiple program participants and generations, in the first quarter of 2016 the YWCA Greater Los Angeles hosted the Los Angeles Job Corps in a day of job shadowing. Students from various trades partnered with nine different departments and were given meaningful tasks, shown how to work office equipment, met program participants and observed staff during a regular work day.
“Job Corps’ Job Shadowing, a program which began years ago to help young people prepare for their careers, gives students firsthand experience of what the real work world is like,” shared Donna Crowder, YWCA Greater Los Angeles Vice President of Operations and Administration. “Although, we share a building with Job Corps students and interact with them frequently, many of them do not know the actual work that happens and what that looks like daily. Participating students got to observe the YWCA not only as their contractor but as a business and nonprofit organization. Additionally, our staff members were positioned as mentors for students. This was a rewarding experience for students and staff.”
The day started off with the students learning more about the mission, vision and history of the YWCA Greater Los Angeles. Students were then assigned to their various departments and began working. In addition to career exposure, participating Job Corps students interacted with multiple programs and participants at various Empowerment Centers which sparked an interest in serving the community.
“This extra layer of exposure to career and community is so crucial. One student who shadowed in the Finance department mentioned that he thought Finance was all about adding numbers. He was further intrigued by the field when he was exposed to the complexities of budgeting and taxes. This opened up his eyes to a career path that he may not have considered,” continued Donna.
At the Union Pacific Empowerment Center, one notable encounter included a Senior Empowerment Services participant, Rosario Morales, sharing her positive memories of Los Angeles Job Corps. Over 20 years ago, both of her daughters graduated from the program and are currently employed as nurses at local hospitals. Ms. Morales praised the education that Job Corps offers youth and encouraged the students to stay with the program. Moments such as these deepened the students’ experience beyond office work and career skills and created a lasting impact.
“These experiences and many others like it propel us to continue partnering in the job shadowing program with our Los Angeles Job Corps students. We plan to repeat this frequently,” concluded Donna.