Future 5’s Job Prep Workshop Kicks-Off
This week Stamford Mayor David Martin stopped by to speak with the student members of Future 5, a Stamford-based nonprofit that helps low-income high school students in Stamford, CT graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path.
The event with the Mayor kicked-off the sixth year of Future 5’s very popular and vital Job Prep workshop. This workshop provides the students with six weeks of “soft skills” training for the workplace – communication skills, professionalism, work ethic, teamwork, etc. Job Prep graduates then qualify for visits to Stamford corporations, job shadowing and internships. Future 5 provides each of them with ongoing coaching help for after school and summer job searches – including resume help, mock interviews and search strategies. Historically approximately 95% of Future 5 graduates are successful in landing part time jobs, including jobs through the Mayor’s Youth Employment program.
The Mayor talked with approximately 25 students in attendance along with a number of volunteer coaches and staff. He touched upon topics such as his own education and career path, the importance of an educated, youthful workforce in Stamford, qualities of a successful employee, the Mayor’s Youth Employment program and the future employment outlook in Stamford.
Mayor Martin explained he believed that what is critical to be successful when becoming part of the workforce is to “be reliable and be engaged”. He stressed to the students that it is important to communicate this to a prospective employer in an interview and most importantly show it on the job. He also answered some tough questions from the students including “What obstacles in life did you overcome?”, “How did you find a job in line with your college degree?”, “How are you planning to encourage job growth in Stamford?”, “What is bringing people to Stamford?”, and “How do you see Stamford changing in the next five years?”
Before being able to move on to Future 5’s Job Prep workshop, students must complete the required “Here2There” workshop, which focuses on the importance of motivation, commitment, self-control, overcoming gremlins and concludes with students creating a personalized game plan for their future. Currently there are 115 Future 5 members.
Prior to the Mayor’s visit that afternoon, students participated in Future 5’s weekly Brain Wave session – a lively and spirited Trivial Pursuit-type game designed to test students’ knowledge of current events and the world around them. Lead by executive director and New Canaan resident Clif McFeely, students competed for points by answering questions on topics trending in the news. “It’s important for the students to be involved and engaged, not only during our workshops but with what’s going on out in the world. Brain Wave helps in a challenging and fun way,” said McFeely. McFeely encourages students to dig deeper than the headlines and provide context for their answers, and he frequently awards bonus points for particularly thought-provoking answers. It’s all in the spirit of good fun and the student with the most points wins a small prize.