During my last post, I talked about five key strategies to engage employer and community partners. In this post, we’ll go deeper on the first two strategies: 1) Help students build career understanding; and, 2) Facilitate classroom presentations or lead small group discussions.
You’ll notice that “providing money, equipment, and materials” is not listed here, and you won’t find that until the very last item on the next blog. I placed it at the very end of the list because successful program leaders tell me time and time again,
“Don’t start off the relationship by asking for resources. Instead, build the relationship and connection to your program. Once the connection is there, the resources will come.”
I just wanted to give you that forewarning. Almost everything you see here today and next time is about building a relationship – helping your employer volunteers build a strong connection to your program, to your students, to your instructors, and to the other businesses and community organizations that are partnering with your program. The biblical saying goes “where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” If business and community volunteers are connected with their emotions, they will also share resources – both time and money.
The next section is addressed directly to the business and community volunteer.
Here’s how you, the business or community volunteer, can connect with our students.
I. Help Students Build Career Understanding
- Participate in a career or industry fair. Share information with students and parents about your business, industry sector, and career paths within your organization.
- Offer a worksite tour. Facilitate a highly engaging tour of your workplace, explaining the variety of occupations that are employed and including an overview of all aspects of the business (e.g., production, information technology, management, finance, sales, and customer service). Work-site tours typically last between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Grant a career interview. By phone or in-person, allow a student(s) to interview you about your occupation, your industry sector, and your career path.
- Offer resume writing and mock job interviews support. Help students develop and refine their resumes and/or conduct mock job interviews. Provide students with constructive feedback and recommendations.
- Invite students to join you at a work event. Students benefit from attending a work-related event such as a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Prior to the event, talk to students about the importance of networking, business collaboration, and professional conduct.
*Note: Any off-site events need to be carried out in accordance with student protection rules and regulations, necessary screenings, and good sense about appropriate interactions between students and adults.
II. Facilitate Classroom Presentations or Lead Small Group Discussions
- Talk to students about your career or industry sector. Present information about your personal career path and industry sector.
- Talk to students about a specific technical skill or use of equipment. Train students to use a particular piece of equipment or learn a specific technical skill.
- Talk to students about specific aspects of business. Expand students’ understanding of the various tasks and aspects of business by sharing focused expertise in areas such as budgeting, logistics, strategic planning, personnel development, or information technology.
- Talk to students about general workplace skills and culture. Present students with information about work ethic and workplace skills. Consider including topics such as problem solving, teamwork, self-initiative, planning, project-management, and customer relations.
- Talk to students about career exploration and career navigation. Expand students’ awareness about how to navigate a career, how to conduct an effective interview, and how to develop a personal network for a job search.
These are the first 10 activities for you to consider. I’ll share the remaining strategies and activities next time.