A few weeks ago Junior Achievement of Rhode Island partnered with Upserve to create learning experiences for local high school students. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. In Rhode Island specifically, the organization works with over 10,500 students across the state with 57,000+ instructional contact hours.
What A Day!
Upserve hosted over 30 students from Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, Rhode Island in the JA Shadow Program. This program offers students a unique opportunity to a visit to a professional work environment and gain insights into how to find and keep an interesting and meaningful career. They’re also able to understand the importance of researching the requirements needed to earn a position.
Not only did several Upserve team members participate in Junior Achievement programs while they were students, they were also able to connect with students visiting for the day. What’s so special about the JA Job Shadow program is that it exposes students to careers that they may never have heard of or considered for themselves. Students know about the typical doctor, lawyer, basketball player career paths, but there are so many other great careers out there. Our goal was to broaden the student’s horizons about the many paths that their future can take, and by doing so the students also inspired our team.
The students heard from with nearly 20 different team members – Account Managers, Marketing Specialists, Engineers and Customer support – to gain a deeper understanding of what kind of jobs that are available after graduation right in their backyard. Hannah Harrington, a Content Specialist on the marketing team shared, “There is nothing better than getting a chance to talk with high school students. Watching them spin their wheels on what they want to do in the future is really inspiring”.
Why It Matters
For students, the Job Shadow Day provides real life examples of:
1) what we do at Upserve,
2) jobs/careers that they can start pursuing today, and
3) the skills it takes to thrive in the 21st century job economy.
For Upserve team members, the Job Shadow Day enabled them to have an impact on young people in our community by sharing their experiences and their story. Paula Abetti, the education coordinator at Junior Achievement shared, “Having local companies invite students to see the inner workings and talk to staff about their jobs and skills is so valuable for students – not only to expose them to those companies but to hear from professionals how their career path got them to where they are today.”
“Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.” —Peter F. Drucker
Addressing The Workplace Skills Gap
CNBC recently interviewed over 500 executives on America’s workplace skills gap. They reported 92% of respondents said there’s a job skills gap. This problem is starting to finally catch the attention of policymakers. Joining in, President Obama set a goal for the United States to lead the world in postsecondary educational attainment by the end of the decade. Partnering with organizations like Junior Achievement let Upserve be a part of the solution.
“Technical skills can be taught on the job, but soft skills that we need for the workplace (creative thinking, collaboration, problem solving) must be learned in school. Teachers can tell students all day long that they need to be proficient in writing and math and those workplace soft skills, but hearing it from company employees and leaders makes it all that more real and urgent for students.” says Paula Abetti, the education coordinator at Junior Achievement
How To Get Involved
If you want to get involved, contact Pauline Abetti to hear more about Junior Achievement’s programs and uncover which would be the best for your company or team members to participate in.