With the help of several local businesses and community organizations, the United Way’s Summer Career Connections Fair recently helped connect more than 700 Detroit students with summer employment and development opportunities.
Now in its third year, the fair aims at creating productive experiences for students that keep them engaged during their summer break and that develop skills necessary for future success. Strategic Community Partners was proud to lead the design and execution team to help craft an impactful experience that focused on providing young people with a space to learn, grow and develop.
Students could select from four unique tracks that offered distinct experiences based on their experience, grade level and needs, including:
Ready to Develop: Engaging students in activities that build their interview, communication, and job/college application abilities.
Ready to Explore: Exploring student’s career interests and planning for their futures with the assistance and guidance of trained career counselors. (Partner: Partner: Wayne RESA Career Counseling Team)
Ready to Graduate: Additional academic support and career guidance as they prepare to enter college or the workforce. (Partner: Winning Futures)
Ready to Work: Interviews with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent employing partners with the potential for students to receive on-the-spot job offers for the summer (Partner: Grow Detroit’s Young Talent)
“I was actually excited because I was given the opportunity to meet new people and build better connections,” said Jamare Winston, a 10th grade student at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men.
Jamare’s experience in the Ready to Develop track included mock interviews and networking time with local business and community leaders, including United Way for Southeastern Michigan President and CEO, Dr. Darienne Driver Hudson. For many of the participants, including Jamare, this experience offered an opportunity to learn more about themselves, explore their career goals, and discover their strengths.
However, the event was not only a special day for students, it was also impactful for many of the partners and employers in attendance. Having the ability to interact with such a wide range of talented young people left many inspired to search for new ways to include youth in their organizations.
One of those partners was Ken Porter, president of Porter Media Group
“The quality of youth at this event was simply unmatched,” he said. “I was genuinely excited to be a part of something that will leave a positive impact on the lives of so many Detroit children.”
As employers at the event, Ken and representatives from his company interacted with hundreds of motivated young people and discussed future employment opportunities. The PMG booth also gave students a chance to leave their mark (literally) at the event through an interactive “Signature of a Future Boss” display. The exercise encouraged students to think big and see themselves as the leaders of the future.
“Every young person that signed that board took ownership of their space. The energy was absolutely amazing,” said Ken Porter.
As a result of the connections established at the fair more than 300 young people walked away with summer jobs, with even more having built connections that could lead to future opportunities.
Strategic Community Partners, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and partners look to build upon the success of the fair through future events and continued support for students as they progress through high school, college and their careers.