The SAWDC Youth Council is pleased to announce a new downloadable multi-media tool for young adult career exploration. With the unemployment rate for young adults ages 16-24 hovering around 20%, a team of business leaders, young adults, educators, professionals, and community partners came together to create tangible career planning options. This free tool, called the Passport to Career Success, is designed to assist young adults and educators with career exploration and planning. Developed to be used independently or as part of a classroom curriculum, it is intended to provide resources for our region's upcoming workforce to become better informed of local career and educational opportunities.
The Passport leads young adults through 17 steps of career exploration and planning in four phases:
This travel-themed tool helps students explore and develop a career plan, learn about the local labor market, prepare for post-secondary education and training, access financial literacy tools, learn about the power of networking, and set forth on a career pathway.
The Passport utilizes multiple mediums to engage a broad array of users, and includes functionality to allow users to check off activities as they are completed to provide a record of their progress.
For more information on the Passport or for a demo, please contact Jessica Cato, Workforce Program Manager for the SAWDC.
Machelle Johnson, HR Director for Pearson Packaging, has a passion for helping youth find their career path. She serves as Chairperson of the SAWDC Youth Council, and routinely braves high school classrooms to speak with DECA classes about interviewing and résumé writing. The Youth Council is an 18-member team that is a committee within the 29-member Spokane Area Workforce Development Council.
Pearson Packaging posts about 20 job openings per year and 80% are non-professional/administrative. The Spokane-based company creates machines to automate the product packaging process for companies like Kraft, Coca-Cola and Hershey's, and seeks candidates with electrical, mechanical, and technical skills to start as assembly technicians.
"As a hiring manager, I hire mechanics and people who can use CAD and have mechanical skills. We need to teach this career path," Johnson said, and added that it is becoming more difficult to find job seekers with necessary skills. She said that there is a reduction of hands-on training, like shop classes, in high schools, and more students are graduating without an introduction to production and manufacturing, concepts that are important to companies like Pearson Packaging.
Through her work with the Youth Council, she was inspired by the Next Generation Zone's handout, "23 of the best job search tips you'll find anywhere..." which led to a discussion about how to formalize a training for businesses and adult mentors to help youth find a career path.
Johnson said, "Students need to understand the volume of jobs in our socio-economic area to understand the variety of pathways." She and the Youth Council formulated an idea regarding what would become the Passport to Career Success, which highlights employment by sector, shows local labor market research and even allows students to fill out job applications for practice. She sees other business mentors using the tools to help students start thinking in terms of career options by conducting research.
She also understands that if Pearson Packaging is having trouble hiring people with hands-on skills, other businesses are as well. She feels that the Passport is "a way to increase employer partnerships and to get the HR community involved in helping youth to get more direction in career planning and internships."