Giving back to the community and to our future workforce is not as difficult as it may seem. Many businesses offer internships, but they are typically only available to college students, leaving out ambitious high school students. Having a high school intern can benefit your small business in many ways, and it is just as beneficial for the students who want to explore career fields and learn more before heading off to college.
To gain insight into internship opportunities and how your business can help, we reached out to one of our Resource Partners, the City of Charlotte, to learn about the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. The City seeks to build partnerships with employers within the community who are able to enrich and expose high school students to career experiences to better equip them for the future.
CBR: What is the overall purpose of the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program?
Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP): Since the Economic Mobility study was completed, the community and all stakeholders have been intentional about preparing our future workforce. We are collaborating to provide soft skills training, partnering on the state level with NC Works, local levels through the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP), Job and Career Readiness Training, Goodwill Industries, local programs through MeckEd and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In-school counselors and teachers are reinforcing what students are learning through these individual and collaborative efforts. In addition, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is partnering with community stakeholders to also provide training for youth with the most barriers.
CBR: What kind of career experiences do you provide for students to develop their career goals?
MYEP: MYEP provides students with job shadowing, access to subject-matter experts (SMEs) and industry professionals who share their expertise as well as their academic and career trajectories, along with how they got there. Students also have access to work-based learning opportunities through internships, pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and jobs.
CBR: How do Career Development Coordinators refer students from their schools?
MYEP: It’s possible that the Career Development Coordinators (CDCs) receive information from workforce development partners about opportunities for students to engage in workforce development activities. CDCs monitor students that have expressed interest, that are mature and display an overall preparedness to take advantage of these opportunities. Such considerations are given to students that attend training events, make eye contact, have firm handshakes, and complete and score well on prescribed interview rubrics. CDC’s help prepare students for the interview, review knowledge about MYEP and make sure students can articulate why being a MYEP participant could impact their career goals. There are over 500 opportunities and students must meet program requirements to become qualified applicants through successfully completing drug and background screenings, participating in interviews, and provide letters of recommendations, which oftentimes comes from the CDC or CTE or Counseling staff at the schools.
CBR: If a student wants to participate in the program, what should they do to prepare? What about businesses if they want to become a host employer?
MYEP: For students, they should have a good idea of what it is they want to explore in terms of a career. They should access their current skill set, have an understanding of what they enjoy, and learn about all of the opportunities available through internships, career exploration, job shadowing, etc. and determine which one is a first step for them to be exposed to for career options. They also need to determine if they have the time commitment required to participate in the program.
For host employers, they need to evaluate whether they can commit the time to give to an intern. Develop a work plan that defines the job, tasks and roles of an intern. Coaching interns on time management, attendance, communication skills, email etiquette, etc. Employers should have a clear understanding about why they are participating, whether it is to meet their corporate social responsibility commitments or if it is to develop a talent pipeline for future workforce candidates. Interested employers should contact an MYEP staff member, complete an application and have a contact person within their organization that will serve as the point of contact.
CBR: What are some of the companies that you partner with to set interns up for success in the future?
MYEP: MYEP partners include Charlotte Works, MeckEd, Career and Job Readiness training partners, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and local foundations that are willing to support the program financially. Through our partnership with Goodwill Industries, we have a voucher program to help with clothing assistance and through the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) we are able to provide a discount for bus passes, and transportation for youth to engage in work at Carowinds.
CBR: What is Charlotte Career Discovery Day and how can a new business become involved?
MYEP: Charlotte Career Discovery Day (CCDD) is a one-day career exploration event that exposes students to industry Fortune 500 companies, as well as college and career opportunities. For more information, contact an MYEP staff member at HNS@charlottenc.gov.
CBR: Why should students attend CCDD?
MYEP: Students should attend CCDD to get hands-on experience! Especially to learn what it’s like to work in a particular job, industry, or organization. Along with having face time to speak with industry experts; companies they would not otherwise have access too. Lastly, to meet with representatives from colleges and universities who are willing and share more information about post-secondary opportunities and waive applications fees. Students are able to speak with businesses about employment openings and to learn more about career opportunities within various career paths.
CBR: Is there a deadline to sign up for the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program?
MYEP: Yes. Students must see their CDC at the start of the school year to register for one of the Job and Career Readiness Training sessions and apply for MYEP by the end of November. If anyone is interested and does not attend a CMS school, call 704-336-5577 for more information.
Now that we have given you the insider tips and tricks on how to participate in MYEP, we hope you take advantage of this great opportunity whether you are a student or a small business!
If you have any other questions about MYEP, feel free to tweet us at @CBRbiz