Youth and Worksite Mentors Reflect on Intern Progress

For the last few weeks, it has been pretty quiet around the YouthWorks office with all of the Employment Coordinators out meeting with youth interns and their worksite mentors. During this time of year YouthWorks’ staff conduct in-person meetings at each intern’s worksite to facilitate a reflection on the intern’s progress since the start of the program year.

At the beginning of the program, worksite mentors identified each youth’s starting point in terms of six key workplace competencies and the specific tools and technology used at each worksite. At this second phase in the process, interns and worksite mentors reflect on progress made in the program since then, and set goals for the rest of the program session.

The competencies that are prioritized in this process were identified through YouthWorks’ research and conversations with worksite mentors about the most important transferable skills that all youth interns should learn through their experience with our program. These competencies are:

Workplace Communication:  Interns learn to successfully communicate with others in the office or work environment. In our program, workplace communication includes communicating effectively with your supervisor about tasks and work-related issues, asking questions and providing input, timely communication, and communicating cordially and effectively with coworkers.

Collaboration: Interns acquire skills to effectively collaborate with other people on projects at work. The goal is for interns’ to be able to work productively as a member of a team to complete tasks, actively participate in group assignments, listen actively, and share opinions and ideas with a group or team.

Adaptability: Interns acquire the ability to easily adjust to new work environments and respond well when unexpected things happen at work. An intern demonstrates adaptability when s/he is able to become comfortable in her / his new office and workplace culture, learns how to do new tasks in a reasonable timeframe, adjusts when something doesn’t go as planned or anticipated, and learns from mistakes.

Productivity:  Interns are able to finish tasks successfully within a specific time frame. Productivity for the YouthWorks’ intern includes using time available to work productively, minimizing distractions at work, meeting deadlines, and meeting goals for amount of work to be accomplished.

Responsibility and Effort: Interns are able to take responsibility for their attendance, behavior, and tasks, and put their best effort into work. An intern demonstrates this competency by informing her / his mentor of unavoidable absences or tardiness in a timely manner, taking responsibility for errors in behavior and work, and trying hard to accomplish even difficult work tasks.

Initiative: Interns identify opportunities and take leadership to put them into action. Initiative includes noticing and implementing improvements to ways that one does his / her work, creatively finding helpful tasks to do when mentor is unavailable, and taking on unassigned tasks beyond one’s usual work when time allows.