5 Ways to Bring Workforce Readiness Online

Today we are joined by Kate Buechner, member of the Workforce Development team here at BGCA, to learn more about how career programming doesn’t have to stop even if we can’t be physically together.

In youth development, we talk a lot about meeting youth where they are. So, what do we do when where they are isn’t at a Clubhouse? School and Club closures and other challenges related to the coronavirus have forced us to rethink how we serve youth and deliver high quality programming when they can’t come through those blue doors. It might feel like it’s hard to plan for the future right now, but we can’t stop preparing our youth for it – especially our teens. Here are 5 ways to go virtual with Workforce programming to help your youth and teens get work and life ready.    

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#1: Virtual Activities on MyFuture 

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has been working to provide virtual adaptations for our programs or get them online so that you can facilitate activities with youth or have them complete them on their own. This month, we added Money Matters and Career Launch modules to MyFuture, along with some other standalone Workforce Readiness activities for teens. You can access these activities under “Teens” on MyFuture.net.

Speaking of, MyFuture just overwent a MAJOR upgrade! You’ll notice the improved look and feel immediately when you visit the site, but there are tons of new features to dive into. We’ve enhanced the reporting and data functionality, added Club announcement and messaging features, and have over THREE HUNDRED activities with more added all the time! Learn more about how to integrate MyFuture into your Club’s programming today.

#2: Virtual Career Exploration

Eliminating geographic and scheduling barriers can also make it easier for volunteers and partners to engage with your Club.  Through virtual career exploration, youth can access and learn about occupations that may never have been exposed to. Bring in professionals from various industries to share information about their personal career journey, their industry and answer any questions teens have for them. To see what a virtual career exploration panel can look like, check out Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany’s Career on Wheels series. You can view recordings of their events on Facebook. You can also view the conversation we had with Club leaders on their programming on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page here (note, there are some tech issues at the start but it gets worked out!):

#3: Virtual Skill Development 

Though electives, extracurriculars and some Club programming might be cancelled, or less available now, there still a lot of ways youth and especially teens can pursue their interests and build skills online. There are a ton of places online for youth to build more technical skills in a wide range of areas from coding, to photography, to graphic design, to opening an Etsy shop. Many of these resources are already free for students, and many companies have recently made their resources free for students whose schools have been impacted by Covid.  Check out “13 Free Resources For High School Students To Get Ahead While School Is Out” from Forbes for some examples. 

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#4: Virtual Job Preparation and Career Fairs 

If your Club does job placement with teens, the virtual space can actually make the process of preparing for a job easier than the in-person activities we relied on in the beforetimes. Hosting virtual events like meet & greets or mock interviews with potential employers can help demystify and reduce the stress of the hiring process for teens who are seeking a first job. Activities like group interviews or “Virtual Career Fairs” are also easy to coordinate and run on platforms like Zoom. In July, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada hosted our first This Way Ahead Virtual Career Fair with teens from multiple Clubhouses and 3 of their local Old Navy stores in July – 5 out of 6 interviewees were hired! For more information about This Way Ahead, go to BGCA.net/ThisWayAhead.  

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#5 Virtual Internships  

As more and more work is being done remotely, employers are finding ways to offer internships remotely too. This summer Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County partnered with local companies to secure 140 virtual paid work opportunities for their members. Learn more about their program on BGCA.org’s News & Notes. If designing a new program is a bit more than your Club can take on this year, then you help teens find virtual internship opportunities online. Chegg Internships is one resource that has a job board for Remote High School Internships online

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Bonus Tip: Virtual Safety and Quality  

Even online, safety and quality are still the most important things! Check out the new Virtual Club Planning Tool for resources on virtual safety, program design, program quality and more! Whether by following four phases of setup or by identifying gaps in existing virtual configurations, Club leaders and staff can make the most of overviews, best practices, case studies, policies and tools we have streamlined into four sections: Getting Started, Virtual Club Design, Virtual Club Operation and Improving Quality & Participation. Learn more at VirtualClubPlanner.org

For more information on BGCA’s Workforce Readiness programs, go to BGCA.net or email us at workforce@bgca.org. If you’d like to be added to our Workforce Readiness mailing list, fill out our short interest form.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with Old Navy to help teens get jobs. Help your teens apply here today (and make sure they indicate they’re affiliated with Boys & Girls Clubs! For more information, visit bgca.net/ThisWayAhead.

How have you continued your Workforce programming this year? What other tips and ideas do you want to share with Boys & Girls Clubs across the country? We want to hear! Contact us by commenting below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org.

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