The Emerging Workforce

Jan 23, 2015 by

Barnstable Patriot Article
Written By: David Augustinho

The Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board engages in a number of activities aimed at youth in our community. Through our Youth Council and at our Career Opportunities Centers, located in Hyannis and Falmouth, we provide a wide range of services to assist young people to fully engage with the world of work.

Our programs reach students as early as the third grade and extend to GED and other training programs that target youths up to 24 years old. Many of our activities are designed to assist at-risk-youths who are in danger of dropping out of school or who can’t get a foothold in the job market.

So what would we be doing working with third graders you may ask?

Well a few years ago there was a statewide initiative aimed at increasing high school graduation rates. The WIB took a leading role in our region on this issue and helped to develop several responses to the issue. Through our research we discovered that one of the earliest indicators of future dropout issues is attendance in lower grades. Based on that information, the WIB worked with several school districts and the District Attorney’s office to develop a program called Keep Them Coming, which provides services and referrals to families of grammar school students experiencing attendance issues.

Through our Career Opportunities Centers, located in Hyannis and Falmouth, we assist youths who want to pursue a GED credential. We also provide computer training for youths who need to sharpen their employability skills. During the summer months we participate in a statewide program called Youthworks, which places a group of students into summer jobs in the Hyannis area.
The WIB oversees a state program called School to Careers that works with Cape and Island school districts to develop internships, provide career exploration, and host employer events to assist students to develop job-seeking skills. The School to Careers program also runs the Artworks program This program provides 40 students per year with the opportunity to work with an artist mentor to develop the students artistic ability. In addition, the program teaches the students about the business side of the arts, a unique opportunity to gain skills that most would not be exposed to in an academic environment. By the way, we partner with Heritage Museums and Gardens on the Artworks program.
Let me mention a few activities that our Youth Council is working on this year. Just this week the Youth Council joined with AmeriCorp, the YMCA, and other agencies and school districts to host students at an event celebrating Martin Luther King day called Bridging the Hunger Gap. Students helped to assemble breakfast and lunch packages to be distributed during February vacation to 200 Mashpee and Barnstable families.
Our youth council is in the process of planning a Leadership Day for area high school students. The event is scheduled for late spring and the goal is to impart confidence and leadership traits in the students.
Our Youth Council is currently working with the Cape and Islands Home Builders and Remodelers Association to plan a Construction Day for local students next fall. This event will provide a wide range of career exploration activity to assist students who may be considering a career in the construction trades.
The title of this article is The Emerging Workforce, which is how we look at the students in our region. Weather our students are going on to college, staying on Cape after high school, or even dropping out of school, we understand that they will be entering the world of work at some point. Our efforts are intended to ensure that when they do pursue a career opportunity they have the knowledge and skills needed to excel.
Anyone interested in the work of the WIB’s Youth Council can contact Kara Galvin, kara@ciwib.org, or 508-775-5900, for further information.

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