Thursday, October 28, 2010

Summer Youth Connect Wraps Up a Great Summer!

Last month, Mayor Adams and Commissioner Cogen hosted a reception for the businesses and organizations that supported the success of Summer Youth Connect - a four year series of academic supports and career/college exposure for at-risk youth during the summer.

This past summer, nearly 1,500 young people participated in the program visiting local businesses and colleges, attending career seminars, and working in paid internships.

Summer Youth Connect consists of three programs:

Ninth Grade Counts connects incoming 9th graders to academic supports and builds high school readiness skills to help insure success

Career + College Connections exposes 10th graders to career choices through job shadows, informational interviews and skill/interest assessments

Youth SummerWorks engages 11th and 12th graders in paid work experiences

Less than 60% of Portland area students graduate from high school on time and only about 1 in 10 8th graders will earn a Bachelors degree. This is unacceptable in today's knowledge-based economy and the continuum of support offered through Summer Youth Connect is intended to help change these statistics.

Worksystems is a proud sponsor and partner in Youth Summer Connect along with the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Portland Schools Foundation. Contact us if you are interested in sponsoring a youth for Summer, 2011.

CAWS Hosts Business Outreach Event

On October 22nd, CAWS (Construction Apprenticeship & Workforce Solutions) and the Diversity in Workforce Construction Committee partnered to host a networking and outreach event to connect people looking for construction jobs to employers, with an emphasis on promoting women and minority candidates.

A qualified, pre-screened pool of job seekers consisting of graduates of apprentice/pre-apprentice programs, veterans and WorkSource Portland Metro customers with construction backgrounds were invited to attend and given the opportunity to interview with 20 different companies including Hoffman, Skanska, Walsh Construction and Howard S Wright Constructors.

The event was coordinated at the request of employers who anticipate needing workers in the near future and are looking for a diverse workforce.

CAWS is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving the representation of people of color and women in the construction trades. Worksystems is pleased to support and promote this organization and we'll be sure to announce additional events as they are planned.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another Youth SummerWorks Success Story!

When Matt Loughner met 19 year old Klea Brandberg, he knew that she was something special. Matt is the School to Work Coordinator for the Beaverton School District and part of his job is to place youth into summer work experiences. Matt was impressed with Klea's confidence and enthusiasm and thought she would be a perfect fit for the Beaverton Family Resource Center helping persons and families in need.

Lisa Mentesana, her supervisor at the Center, couldn't have agreed more and was thrilled with the match. Klea was charged with assembling a resource guide that packaged information on donated clothing and food, shelter, mental health and other counseling services, medical care and social programs in an easy to use format. With little further instruction, Klea took on the project and created a professional product that will help many people connect to the resources they need.

I had an opportunity to sit down with Lisa and Klea and hear them describe their experience working together this summer:

This is just one of hundreds of summer internships funded through Worksystems' SummerWorks program that provides work experiences to youth who have become disconnected from school and employment.

So what's next for Klea? Her experience at the Center has sparked an interest in social work and helping families in need so she's thinking about heading back to school - which is a great thing! In the meantime, she's looking for office work and if you're interested in hiring her, she's listed in the iMatchSkills system.

After meeting Klea myself, I can understand what Matt saw in her during the initial interview and why Lisa is so sorry to see her go. Klea is poised, articulate, and full of great ideas. All things that will take her far in life. We are glad to have been a part of her journey and wish her all the best. Go Klea!