Program Spotlight Nov 17

Preparing for Great Futures  Program Spotlight: CareerLaunch

Nothing beats a job. For our teen boys, their first job provides some much needed money, a chance to explore career opportunities, and develops employment readiness skills.  

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Teen Center provides CareerLaunch, a work readiness program, and the mentors to teach teens how to find and keep that first job. It’s another program to inspire our members to be caring, productive future citizens, as job-ready employees and informed consumers. CareerLaunch helps teens achieve the Academic Success outcome of graduating from high school with an individual plan to study at a two or four year college, earn a career technology certificate, serve in the military, or be job-ready.  
Getting that first job is a challenge. Fortunately, Corey Neely, Senior Instructor at the Teen Center, is there to help. He is guiding teens through the process of searching for and applying for a job, then teaching the character and skills to get and keep a job. Corey works individually and in small groups to prepare teens how to find an entry level job, prepare a resume, complete an application, dress for success, interview effectively, and most importantly, follow-up appropriately with prospective employers.

That preparation paid off. The Teen Center helped more than 125 members find employment this past summer. Initial entry jobs for teens were plentiful and many members held two or three jobs throughout the summer, with employers reaching out to the Teen Center regularly for help.

Another part of CareerLaunch assess the skills and interests of teens to enable them to explore future career options, make sound education decisions, and determine the right college, school, or university.  
In addition to the help they get from Corey, teens also have volunteer support, such as the 
National Society of Black Engineers, assist them writing resumes and cover letters, tutor math and science, and talk about their career experience.

CareerLaunch participants recently attended the local Manufacturer’s Day. “That event really opened their eyes,” said Unit Director John Sams. “Our Club members were aware of a few local companies, but didn’t realize the diversity of good-paying job opportunities that are available at local manufacturers.” The Club is planning to host a career and technical education expo for area teens in the near future.

CareerLaunch and caring Teen Center instructors play a critical role giving teens a purpose and plan to achieve their Great Futures. It all starts with the Clubs being the place to be for local teens to learn and apply skills to earn that first job, explore career and educational options, and prepare for their place as the citizens, employees, potential employers, and consumers of tomorrow. 

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