The American Job Center (AJCC) in Rancho Dominguez is disrupting the status quo by expanding paid job-training opportunities for eligible Los Angeles County youth, and bringing new training application opportunities to available interns and employers. The Career Pathway Preparedness LEARNing Program was launched in December 2020 and is already producing results.
Regional Directors of Employer Engagement for the Los Angeles region representing the Business & Entrepreneurship (Judy Fox), Global Trade (Ruth Amanuel), and Katie Mishler (Advanced Transportation and Logistics) sectors spearheaded this initiative under their ProvenReady brand along with Joseph Navarro, Lead Youth Career Planner for the AJCC’s Youth@Work program and Eddie Lin, CEO of NexusEdge.
Utilizing the digital badging platform NexusEdge, eligible participants have the opportunity to connect with 28 companies that have provided 80 skills-based training and exam modules that allow students to explore diverse career pathways and earn industry-created and employer-desired skill sets. Participating students can earn as much as $45 per digital badge completed as well. One such badge available through Shopify is even offering participants who complete their three digital badges focused on email and social media marketing the opportunity to earn a free Shopify store for one year (valued at $360).
Employers utilize the results gleaned by NexusEdge to identify potential new interns and employees. Examples of digital badges available to participants include Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides; Music Production from Two Bit Circus; Basic Financials from CNBC; and Business Etiquette and Professional Growth from William Blair, to name a few.
The Regional Directors of Employer Engagement have also been engaging companies who would benefit by providing internship opportunities to this population. This ensures the participants have the opportunity to gain key skill sets and apply what they’ve learned in a business environment while at the same time supplying employers with the talent they need. One of the biggest incentives for employers to collaborate with this program is the fact that AJCC pays for the interns at a rate of $15/hr for 280 hours of internship experience. If the participant is hired, the AJCC will continue to pay 50% of their wages for the first 90 days. Throughout the training and internship process, participants are exposed to community college programs encouraging them to pursue further education.
Outcomes to Date
During the pandemic era, having a way to achieve career exploration and job training remotely has been a mission critical task. Only one month into the launch of The Career Pathway Preparedness LEARNing Program, 58 participants have been accepted into the program, and 30% of them have already started working on badge acquisition earning over $3,000 collectively. In this short time 16 participants have been placed in internship positions, and one student has enrolled in community college as a direct result of the program. Seven new companies have been added and are eager to fill their open internship positions.
Lizbeth Hernandez, a senior at Siatech High School, is one such student who took advantage of this opportunity. Hernandez who is not a fan of the traditional academic approach to learning, found this delivery model of real and relevant content to be just what she needed to reignite her passion for learning. This experience has inspired her to continue her education. To date she has completed seven badges and as a result, applied to Harbor College for the Summer Semester 2021.
For Students: To be eligible for The Career Pathway Preparedness LEARNing Program, participants must be between the ages of 14-24, and a resident of Los Angeles County registered with the AJCC-RD.
For Employers: Participating employers must be able to guarantee a minimum of 20 hours of work per week.
Regional Directors are working to scale this program to other AJCCs, WIBs and similar organizations to help meet the demand of hopeful participants and employers. For more information about the ProvenReady program and Careeer Pathway Preparedness LEARNing Program OR to inquire about collaborative opportunities, please email the ProvenReady team and visit www.provenready.org.