Job Readiness Program makes an impact

Six weeks has never gone by so fast. With Powerful Voices Job Readiness program coming to a close I find myself busied with the logistics of closing out a program. In retrospect, we hit the ground running and covered a myriad of job readiness training during a short period of time. Topics throughout the program touched on transferable skills, communication, resume writing, cover letters, and interviewing. What set this program apart from any employment program I've heard of was that, while our focus was on job readiness, there was still the element of an all girls group that is unique to Powerful Voices programs.
Participants: Lotajah & Cherise

At the beginning of the program we created community agreements. These agreements were set by the group on behaviors that we want to cultivate to create safe space, like inclusiveness. On the flip side, (or more literally outside our circle of agreements), a behavior we agreed to abstain from was bullying. These community agreements set the bar for the rest of the program and were a living document that we could revisit periodically as the program progressed.

We kicked off the program with one of my favorite icebreakers called: Common Ground. If you have never played Common Ground, it is a easy, active way to identify things people have in common. Everyone forms a circle with chairs and removes one seat. The person without a chair stands in the center of the circle and completes the sentence: “I share common ground with people who ______________.” 

What they share must be something that cannot be visible. Everyone who shares that commonality has to find another place in the circle and whoever does not find a chair, goes in the middle of the circle and repeats the same prompt using a quality they possess. Some of my favorite statements that girls came up with were: “I share common ground with girls who like girls.” “I share common ground with people who speak more than one language.” “I share common ground with people who are multi-racial.”

Throughout the program we had the opportunity to have guest speakers come in to cover a range of topics such as resume creation, financial literacy, and college readiness. I even learned a few things! Megan Domingo from Boeing, who volunteered to lead the resume workshop, informed us that some companies throw out resumes with bullet points.  

Mock interview day was probably my favorite session because it was a good opportunity to see the girls in action, utilizing the skills we had developed over the course of our time together. Not to mention how awesome it was to see the youth all “professionalized out” with their blazers and dress pants, everyone was looking sharp. A participant named, Emone showed up a whole hour early to practice before her interview. Her interviewer had this praise to say after they met: “Emone did a great job! She was very professional and well prepared. [After the interview] She said she was nervous but it didn't show.”

Although I’m bummed that the Job Readiness program has come to a close, I am ready to kick off the new year with our ActiveVistas program which we will recruit for in January and which will start in March 2015. Stay tuned!


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