Incorporating Workforce Readiness Into Summer Programming

We’ve added a bunch of new team members to Youth Development at BGCA, and I’m on a mission to get them all here on the ClubX Blog. Today I’m pumped to introduce you to a voice you’ll be hearing often (if I have anything to do with it), Director of Workforce Development Caitlyn Beatty!

When we talk about workforce readiness, we typically think teens, CareerLaunch and summer internships. While all those things are awesome and important parts of creating a culture in your Club, workforce readiness is actually so much more! You can implement workforce readiness activities with your younger members, in arts projects, and in your teen center with members that are old enough to have those summer internships.

We know summer in the Club is an experience unlike any other. Clubs have new staff and new members and longer hours, so we’ve rounded up some activities that are great for summer programming and are easy ways to incorporate workforce readiness into your summer schedule.

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Recreation Activities with Workforce Readiness Prompts

  • Perfect for: 6-9 year olds with a lot of energy!
  • Workforce Readiness Pathways: Career Exploration

Have your members participate in their normal gym time like a relay race or doing basketball skill drills. When your group is cooling off with some water or a healthy snack, ask them questions like:

  • A fitness trainer is someone who designs exercises, like our relay race, to help others move their body and get active. Has anyone ever heard of a fitness trainer?
  • What kind of activities would you do if you were a fitness trainer?
  • When we did our basketball drills, I gave you some tips to help you. A coach is someone who does that for a career. What else does a coach do?
  • What other sports have coaches? 
  • If you were a coach, what sport would you like to work with?

This is an easy way for staff to incorporate workforce readiness without changing your schedule for a specific event or program. With long days in the summer, our younger members need time stretch, run, and play so you’ll probably have some gym time on your schedule already. With these prompts members can start to make connections and are exposed to other careers.

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  • Perfect for: 9-12 year olds
  • Workforce Readiness Pathways: Career Exploration, Skill Development

DIY Stem is a hands-on activity-based STEM program that connects 9-12 years old with science themes. It includes five modules: Energy & Electricity, Intro to Aeronautics, Engineering Design, Food Chemistry, and the Science of Sports. When you download the facilitators guide at you’ll get 5 sessions with:   

  • Facilitator prompts and sample schedules (you can change up the activities to fit your Club needs) 
  • Materials list
  • Multiple activities with instructions
  • Key vocabulary to introduce to members
  • Reflection questions

DIY Stem is great for summer because it gives youth hands-on activities that can help create a dynamic program schedule. The five modules are perfect for most summer programs that run only 6-9 weeks, giving you buffer weeks to get to know your tweens and do a culminating event. A key component of workforce readiness is skill development and DIY STEM has it all. Members learn academic skills like asking questions and critical thinking, as well as social-emotional skills like collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. 

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Information Interviews

  • Perfect for: 13-18 year olds
  • Workforce Readiness Components: Exploration, Skill Development 

Host a guest speaker at your Club for teens to learn more about a career. Consider inviting a board member, donor, a recent Club alum, or someone from your local Old Navy. Information interviews should typically last about an hour and can be at your Club or virtual. During the interview your guest speaker can give an overview of their career, how they chose that career and what education, skills or certifications were needed. Here are some helpful practices for running an information interview at your Club: 

  • Incorporate youth choice: Have youth identify career clusters they are interested in and recruit speakers from those areas. 
  • Prep your guest speaker: Encourage them to tell a dynamic story of how they got to their position, have them remind members that they were teens once and why they became interested in their field, encourage them to use a variety of tactics when presenting like (Q&A, storytelling, and reflection).
  • Prep your members ahead of the visit: Make sure members have questions ready and know a little about the field your guest is in.
  • Use your connections: invite a board member or Club Alumni.
  • Incorporate an activity: If the guest is an artist, have students draw while they listen to the interview; a chef, have members do a bake off after the interview with the guest speaker; a business professional, run a 10-mintute shark tank where members pitch their business idea to the guest speaker. 
  • Earn money for your Club: Old Navy has partnered with BGCA to support workforce readiness. If your Club host Old Navy for an informational interview + your teens visit the store as a follow up activity, your Club will receive $1500 (while promotion last). 

This is a great activity to run during the summer because teens are in the Club during a time that many professionals are working and can take time to come to the Club for lunch and an interview. This activity also gives Club staff time to take a quick break from facilitating or prep for the next activity while students are engaged with the guest speaker. During information interviews members explore careers that they may not have known exist, learn about different pathways to employment and hear what education/certifications are needed for different jobs. Members also get to network and make connections that you can help them follow up on.

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These are just some of the ways to incorporate workforce readiness this summer. If these activities don’t work for your Club, consider what programs and activities you are running that can incorporate career exploration, skill building, and practical application. I bet you’ll find a lot of programs already do, it’s just a matter of making sure they’re on the schedule and being intentional about making the connections with your youth.

If you want to learn more about Workforce Readiness, join our monthly Workforce Wednesdays webinars! Last month we covered Summer Programming & Workforce Readiness, and if you missed it you can find the webinar recording and resources here.

How does your Club incorporate Workforce Readiness into summer programming? What are your other favorite summer ideas? We want to know! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or by emailing

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