January 22, 2013
Member changes lives with “Bridging the Gap” mentoring program
January is National Mentoring Month and Ohio Valley Goodwill's Youth Services program is well aware of the importance of mentoring in the lives of young adults just entering the workforce. Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries Youth Services program provides the final step in a rigorous work placement initiative for Cincinnati Public School students.
Bridging The Gap (BTG) connects recent graduates, at least 18 years of age, with a variety of community partners. BTG's parent program, Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center helps our students get on track to graduate from high school. Through other agency partners the students complete a 6 week life skills course, a one week work readiness course, and then start specific training in one of three employment pathways: banking, manufacturing or healthcare. Once trained and/or certified the students interview with one of our partner employers and Goodwill Youth Services, then connects them with a work place mentor. Ideally a mentor works in the same industry. However, what is most important is for a mentor to exemplify professional behavior, expectations and appropriate demeanor.
In the past 6 years, Cincinnati Children's Hospital alone employed more than 40 BTG students! "Workplace mentorship and coaching is a triple win," says Maria Vanderwerker, Youth Services Program Coordinator for Ohio Valley Goodwill. "Mentees gain trusted job coaches; mentors learn more about available resources in their organization and networks; and employers gain more engaged employees."
In addition to other mentor-based youth programs, Goodwill Youth Services also partners with local school districts to discuss the process of employment with students. Topics include developing a resume, completing and submitting applications, the interview process and appropriate dress and attitude.
Goodwill's Youth Services programs are designed to help youth explore and prepare for job and career choices, offer support in making positive vocational decisions, and empower youth to become contributing members of their community.
The great thing is that you can make a difference! Be a mentor or just share your workplace experiences with our youth. You could offer your place of business for job shadowing or supervised training. Or consider the possibility as a business leader in our community, of hiring a young adult from our program.
Mentoring changes lives. As a mentor, you have the opportunity to grow your life and impact another. If you are interested in helping to change a life, please call Maria Vanderwerker, at 513-771-4800, ext. 6231, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.