@work a bridge between high school and careers

On Thursday, Oct. 29, almost 200 young professionals will go back to high school - not to relive their glory days, but to share what they've learned in the interim. This project, dubbed @Work, will touch 750 juniors and seniors in eleven area schools.

@Work is one of several programs created by young professionals in the C-Change leadership development program. Part of the Chamber of Commerce's HYPE (Harnessing Young Professional Energy) Initiative, C-Change entrenches 50 YPs in a year of interactive workshops, retreats, and activities.

Jennifer Young, a key planner of @Work, heard about C-Change while working for the Fine Arts Fund. Now employed by the Chamber, Young said that the driving force behind @Work was the Qualified Workforce component of Agenda 360, the regional action plan sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

"Many area high school students are learning to write resumes. It's great if you have a resume, but how do you get an interview? And how do you follow up after the interview?" Young stressed that the young professional's "near-peer" relationship would help them gain the attention of high school students when teaching workplace standards like appropriate use of social media and correct phone etiquette.

Teams of three or four participants are trained to teach a pre-developed curriculum. @Work participants want area students to know the practical steps that adults take in their career paths, whether entering the workforce after high school, or landing a job to help pay for college.

"When we introduce ourselves, we plan to tell about our current role, but also about our first job, too," said Young. She hopes that the diversity of @Work participants will make high schoolers more aware of the options available to them.

C-Change is in conversations with several organizations who may continue @Work as a permanent project.

Written by: Elena Stevenson

Source: Jennifer Young, Marketing Communications, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

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