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JA Her Path to Promise

 

CHRA and the CHRFoundation have partnered together to support a program called JA Her Path to Promise.  JA is collaborating with a group called Women in Transition to provide 20 young women with the JA Her Path to Promise initiative. All participants are from at-risk backgrounds in Baltimore City and transitioning from the foster care system. JA Her Path to Promise helps with the transition process from foster care to live healthy independent lives and build the confidence and skills they need to be successful in their futures.  Financial support from CHRA/CHRF will cover program materials, content development, transportation for the students, food, and evaluation of the program.

 

JA Her Path to Promise is a continuum of experiences that lead at-risk students from Baltimore City to recognize their own self-worth, their skills and capabilities, and their unlimited opportunities to achieve the careers and lives of their dreams. The program is a fast-paced, high-energy experience involving a myriad of participant engagement activities including various lesson themes, break-out activities, leadership opportunities, panel presentations, discussions, and one-on-one mentor activities.

 

Through participation in JA Her Path to Promise, high school girls will participate in:

• Interactive JA programs that build confidence and character

• 1:1 mentoring & relationship building

• Resume building & interviewing workshops

• Sessions to assist in developing their personal brand

• JA kit based programs

• Leadership development and career panels

• Dress for Success presentation

• Networking lunch

• Career roundtables for exposure to various jobs and professions

• University tours

 

Program Need

JA is uniquely positioned to help Baltimore City young women. Students in Baltimore City face challenges that often lead to making poor decisions that will impede them achieving the lives they desire or to become self-sufficient.  A significant issue is the self-perception of value that young women in socio-economically challenging situation cast upon themselves.  This sense of not being worthy to improve their economic status often leads to leaving school early, a decision made by 40% of the young women in Baltimore City.  With women also facing issues including gender pay inequality, “glass ceiling” promotion issues, and family v. career decisions, the importance of completing their education is crucial.

 

We must create pathways out of poverty that support and prepare young women for high-demand, high stress jobs, while providing a peer network and supportive community around them.  JA Her Path to Promise does just that.  The program provides pathways for young women by providing important lessons, hands on activities, and experiences to begin the process of preparing the young women to focus on a successful life after graduation from high school.  JA Her Path to Promise will lay the foundation for developing a peer network and support for students as they advance throughout the program and will be a multi-year continuum of experiences for students throughout their high school career. JA recognizes the power of a continuum of experiences and the importance of laying the best foundation will keep the students engaged. 

 

The focus of this program is to truly prepare these young women for furthering their education and preparing them to enter the workforce. Through of myriad of activities, Junior Achievement provides these lessons to the young women.  The young women participate in hands-on interactive programming to prepare them for their journey throughout the program.

 

Program Description

Young women will be exposed to a variety of careers.  Through sessions hosted by Towson University, the young women will have the opportunity to answer questions to uncover their interests and skills levels to determine what careers they may be successful pursuing.  Some of the young women in the past have been shocked with their answers while others fits directly into the path they are currently pursuing.  Throughout the process, the young women also learn about the education and experience necessary to be successful, the different salaries offered within different geographic locations for their careers, and what they do need to do to achieve their desired career.  The Career Center also exposes the young women to careers they may never have heard about but fit within their skills and interests.

 

Dress for Success is also a part of Her Path to Promise.  Women come in to help the girls understand how to dress and act in professional settings and assisting them to develop tools to thrive in the workplace and in life.  These skills also help to develop the young women’s personal brand.  Community and business individuals come to speak to the young women about the importance of how your represent yourself both in personal and online.

 

Businesses and communities are also engaged through a panel.  Respected women from the community come to share their experiences and career pathways while providing tips to the young women.  They have the opportunity to ask questions and learn from their journeys into success.

 

Corporate women also volunteer their time with the young women to partake in mock interviews.  Through kit based programs, the girls have the opportunity to learn about creating a resume and cover letter and preparing for an interview.  Lessons are taught in how to tailor your approach and collateral materials you bring to an interview based on the industry you are applying for.  The young women have the opportunity to present their resume and business cards during the interview and get constructive feedback from their interviewers.

 

New this year, Junior Achievement will be partnering with corporate partners to host a career fair.  Through this career fair Junior Achievement will bring together the business community so that these young women have the opportunity to put into practice the lessons they have learned in regards to creating their resume and the feedback from their mock interviews.  The corporate partners will include various industries and Junior Achievement is working to solicit companies in which they are looking to hire.

 

Towson University provides a tour of the college campus.  For many of these young women, this is the first time that they are able to be on a college campus.  They can imagine themselves living in the dorm, studying in the library, attending classes, and socializing in the quad.  To be able to see their peers living this lifestyle and having the opportunity to ask questions about the reality of living and attending college makes this pathway attainable.

 

JA Her Path to promise helps these young women acquire the knowledge and skills to become prepared for the 21st century workforce.  The skills and networks they have built will help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.  They will be inspired to seek post-secondary formal education opportunity in order to position themselves to achieve desired, well-paying careers.

 

·         Learn both the hard-skills (specific knowledge) and soft-skills (the ability to perform well as a part of a corporate team) that employers are seeking.

·         Importantly, an outcome that we will be seeking for our students will focus on the significant gap that exists between the skills employers need and the actual skills of high school graduates. In a survey of more than 400 employers in the United States, 42 percent rated the overall preparation of high school graduates for entry-level jobs as deficient -- 73 percent rated their leadership skills deficient, 70 percent rated graduates deficient in both professional/work ethic and critical thinking/problem-solving, and 54 percent rated their creativity/innovation skills as deficient. JA's efforts address these workforce needs.

 

CHRA volunteer opportunities

Junior Achievement has several volunteer opportunities available for CHRA members during the Her Path to Promise program.  Included in the program, is a one hour panel with Human Resources employees which we would love to include a CHRA member.  In addition, mock interviews will be held with these young women over a two hour time period.  This is an additional volunteer opportunity for CHRA employees to volunteer their time.  Lastly, there will be a career fair where CHRA would be able to have a booth.  During this two hour career fair, CHRA members would be able to share with the young women their pathways to be successful in their careers, offer information on any jobs or internships that may be available at their personal organization or through other CHRA members, and give feedback to these young women on their interviewing and resume skills.

 

These volunteer opportunities will continue to strengthen the partnership between CHRA and Junior Achievement while preparing our future workforce with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavors. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact info@chra.com.

 

CHRA and Junior Achievement Alignment

In June of 2016, a national partnership with The Society for Human Resources and Junior Achievement USA was announced.  The collaborative partnership was formed to promote work readiness in schools across the country.  Together, each organization will use their strengths and expertise to better prepare young people to be successful adults in the workforce. 

 

Because of this national partnership, it has given Chesapeake Human Resources Association and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland the opportunity to partner and work together.  Locally, our organizations have begun to work together to improve job readiness in the workplace.  This opportunity would give several engagement opportunities to continue and build the partnership.

 

Evaluation

At the national and local level, JA is dedicated to ensuring that the programs it provides produce measurable, verifiable improvements in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. These outcomes are measured through assessment tests, and determined through feedback and testimonials from teachers, students, and JA volunteers.

JA also uses pre- and post-test assessments to establish baseline knowledge levels and measure gains over the course of each program. Our goal is to achieve statistically significant improvement as the norm for all students in each program.

JA also asks our participating teachers to observe trends for on-time grade promotion. With pre-JA rates as low as 60%, we anticipate that 80% or more of our students will be promoted on-time to the next grade. Past JA USA studies have shown that this rate continues to increase as students experience a continuum of JA programs.

While research reveals that academic performance is the most important driver of high school graduation, there is increasing consensus around the important role that attitudes and behaviors play in driving student achievement by acting as sticking mechanisms that allow for academic performance. Through the new system-wide relationships with Baltimore City and County Public Schools, JA now has an enhanced opportunity to track students through their educational journey and support future evaluation that establishes clear measurement criteria, such as behavioral change, on-time grade promotion and increased graduation rates.

JA Her Path to Promise provides the following impact:

1. Increased the life skills of young women: The experience provided training to become work-ready and financially literate while developing soft skills like confidence, critical thinking, and problem solving.

2. Encouraged the healthy development and personal authority of young women: The participating girls became empowered to own their futures, creating a path to ultimate success.

3. Developed and fostered the long-term emotional strength of young women, taking on—often for the first time—leadership opportunities.

4. Contributed to long-term self-sufficiency: The skills acquired helped shape the young women’s path to succeed, enhancing their ability to achieve financial and emotional stability, as well as self-sufficiency.

 

Testimonials

Included below are quotes from young women participating in the program, from the Executive Director of Women in Transition, and from a Her Path to Promise volunteer.

“I just want to thank you so much. You have taught me so much to start my journey in this world. You showed me my strengths and helped me with believing in myself and to never give up. The program taught me to always stay positive and to make eye contact. I still get a little nervous when I’m going to an interview, but I am no longer afraid of change or moving on in life and stepping out into the world. I learned to put myself first and believe in myself no matter what anybody tells me and don’t let anything or anyone stand in my way of achieving my dream. I can be anything I want to be and you played a part in helping me believe it. “—My’chae Willy, Student Participant

 

“JA Her Path to Promise really inspired me to create an action plan toward my goal. Instead of just dreaming, it will happen. I know now that I have to put forth the effort to even get one step closer to my goal. Thank you for the mock interviews and the networking luncheon. It helped me be prepared for a real interview and showed me what they are looking for in an employee. The networking luncheon helped me to meet new people and get their advice for when I step the real world. I can’t thank you enough for this amazing opportunity.” — Tykiara Henderson, Student Participant

 

“I have participated in JA events before but nothing really prepared me for yesterday. Simply put, it was amazing and the young ladies could not stop talking about their great experiences. Thank you so much for reaching out to our organization and having a strong follow-up and execution. We are forever changed!”

— Peggy Murphy, Executive Director of Women in Transition, Inc.

 

“It really was a tremendously inspiring event. Kudos to Ms. Peggy for making such a difference in these girls’ lives. We had one of our interviewees share that she was her role model and gave such specific reasons as to why that I could not help but smile. The warmth she projected when speaking of her was so moving. I look forward to helping out any way I can in the future. If Women in Transition needs any further volunteers moving forward, please let them know I am in!”

—Patricia Hildt, Mentor, Travelers

 

Donations

If you are interested in making a donation to the CHRFoundation to be ear-marked for the JA Her Path to Promise Program, you can do so online by clicking here.

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