Amplifying and Responding to Youth Voice: Career Awareness eModule Series

Responding to global Bridge to Employment (BTE) youth reflections and insights, FHI 360’s National Institute for Work and Learning (NIWL) designed the Career Awareness eModule training – the first of its kind!

We need diverse workshops quoteThis month, FHI 360 will launch the Career Awareness eModule training series, designed for BTE youth and mentors to journey through together. This series includes five youth-facing eModules that focus on identifying and enhancing skills, analyzing strengths and interests, professionally marketing oneself, mastering the job search, and acing interviews. BTE mentors are afforded a parallel training series that targets best practices they can implement to support BTE mentees as they complete their eModules. Upon completion of this series, youth will have developed their own professional portfolios and have the foundation to successfully engage in behavioral based interviews. Youth who successfully complete the training will receive a Career Awareness digital badge credential; Navigators will receive a Career Awareness Navigator certificate of completion.

Background

In 2021, the global BTE Youth Leadership Council (YLC) put together a reflection survey that was distributed to all active BTE sites. Nearly 100 BTE youth completed the survey and one major theme was present across the globe: BTE youth have a great interest in learning about diverse career fields and how they can realistically enter those fields.

Expressing a desire to learn about broader STEM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design) careers, BTE youth advocated for more exposure to diverse careers through workshops and speaking with professionals in those careers. Global youth also acknowledged that they don’t know what they don’t know. They feel they are lacking the tools and resources to help them start the career exploration journey, along with the additional resources and supports they will need once they begin. They are really looking to spend quality time with Johnson & Johnson volunteers, especially in the lens of a personal career coach. Youth are looking for individual and customized support to develop competitive resumes, as well as strengthen their interviewing skills.

match our interests with our potential quoteUniformly, all global BTE youth expressed a lack of understanding with regards to skills and interests. They hear these terms often in programming and in their academics, but they do not know what the terms mean, nor do they know in which specific skills or interests they are strong. Global participants want to develop a deeper understanding of their personal skills, strengths, and interests and then use what they learn about themselves to start considering and potentially pursuing a STEM2D career. Many youth shared they lack confidence to move forward in these career sectors, primarily because they either do not have a clear understanding of the path itself or they do not know if they have what it takes to be successful in the fields. We know they do, but we want to make sure they are confident in feeling that way too!

Due to COVID-19, BTE youth also felt there have been significant gaps in programming when it comes to meaningful virtual engagement. They are willing to learn in a virtual setting but would like the chance to discuss diverse career sectors, receive individual career coaching with Johnson & Johnson volunteers, and ultimately walk away from the program with a professional portfolio. Hence, the creation of the Career Awareness eModule training series!

The Design

The goal of this training series is for both youth and Navigators to engage in these modules in tandem. Navigators can include parents, teachers, counselors, advisors, or any other adults helping young people navigate their paths.

Youth eModules

This training series includes a set of 5 self-paced, interactive eModules designed specifically for youth, along with a parallel set of 5 interactive modules designed to support their Navigators. Each module takes about 20 minutes to complete and ends with a dedicated Action Plan for youth to complete. These Action Plans are intended for youth to practice the skills they learned in each section and should take about 45 minutes to complete. After youth complete their Action Plan items, they will engage in a coaching session with their identified Navigator, exploring their learning, self-discovery, and applying knowledge learned.

Module 1: Identifying & Enhancing Your Skills

In this module, youth will learn about skillsets that are important in the workplace and how to actively develop those skillsets by using their Education and Career Plan (ECP), which is a digital tool that focuses on: (1) goal setting, (2) academic progress and accomplishments, (3) career exploration, and (4) postsecondary readiness. Additional resources and information pertaining to postsecondary applications, testing, and financial aid are also included, along with a Resources Roadmap that provides a list of useful links and common resources needed during postsecondary exploration and planning.

Module 2: Analyzing Your Strengths & Interests

During this module, youth will learn how to identify their strengths and interests and use that knowledge to help identify find career sectors for consideration as they navigate their career exploration journey. Youth will also learn how to create their elevator pitch and share their skills, strengths, and interests with others.

Module 3: Professionally Marketing Yourself

In this eModule, youth will learn about how to professionally market themselves through their resume, cover letter, and digital portfolio (i.e., LinkedIn). Youth will also revisit their Education and Career Plan to record plans, progress, and accomplishments.

Module 4: Mastering Your Job Search

During this module, youth will learn about the most common methods for conducting a job search, how to use known connections and social capital to create new connections, and how connections can help in starting their personal job search.

Module 5: Acing Your Interviews

In this final module, youth will learn about all things interviews, including types. Youth will explore informational interviews, behavioral-based interviews, the STAR Method, how to prepare for job interviews, and how to professionally represent themselves.

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To start using this e-training series with youth and Navigators, or to learn more, find the Youth eModules here and the Navigator eModules here. Please contact Tiffany Nesbey at tnesbey@fhi360.org if you have additional questions.