One key focus of this program year is fine-tuning program strategies to better prepare youth participants for future employment. To this end, we have piloted a list of YouthWorks job readiness competencies and a number of related tools. This list of competencies describes the 5 core skill areas that we believe youth should develop during their YouthWorks internship:
- Learning new tasks and developing specific job skills related to the work of your department which includes skills such as filing, Microsoft Office, and using office machinery.
- Communicating in the workplace which includes activities such as being able to ask clarifying questions and engaging in professional communication with coworkers.
- Managing time, prioritizing tasks and demonstrating responsibility which includes items such as being punctual, meeting deadlines, and taking responsibility for accomplishments and mistakes.
- Problem-solving in the workplace which includes skills such as handling unexpected circumstances and navigating personality conflicts.
- Understanding and being prepared for the job search process which includes activities such as completing a resume and knowing common interview questions.
At this mid-session point of the 2009-2010 program, we are meeting with youth and mentors to discuss each youth’s progress towards mastering these competencies. We will also document plans to support further development for the duration of each internship.
These meetings are a great opportunity to hear about all of the wonderful work youth interns have accomplished, and to give us all an opportunity to reflect on how we can continue to move forward for the rest of the program year.