Connect2Career™ seeks to augment the “functional” training with more “aspirational” experiences designed to shake things up and leave a lasting impression. Experiences deemed aspirational because they 1) expose youth to people, places and opportunities outside of their current access or understanding and 2) invigorate and expand their view of life’s possibilities. Our goal is to ignite a spark of curiosity and interest in exploring new things; and begin to “flip the script” on their sometimes narrow perception of life’s possibilities. In doing so, we will inspire them to dream bigger and strive to achieve their full potential despite the challenges of living in care.

Youth need non-conventional interventions to fuel dreams and create a desire to attain something great in life. Simply, they must “see” it to want it. Additionally, the exposure will refine and position them for college and other opportunities—and build their comfort and confidence in unfamiliar environments. When youth interface with exceptional people who have excelled in a variety fields, made a tremendous contribution to society or defied odds to be successful, they are primed to “dream big”.

That is the purpose of Connect2Careers™.

This innovative approach engages businesses and professionals in supporting youth and young adults as they plan for their future. Through these highly energetic and effective sessions, youth have the opportunity to test their interview and networking skills with a myriad of
businesses/career representatives.

Connect2Careers™ sessions include professionals from youth-friendly businesses who represent 30-50 potential career options. Some of the businesses that should be represented at Connect2Careers™ events include banking, security, technology, social work/psychology, health care, communications, fund raising, media such as radio and TV, electrician, plumbing, accounting, carpentry and general contracting, public relations, real estate, law enforcement, fire department, animal science (such as working within a zoo or marina), mechanics, civil engineering.

Modeled after speed dating, each participant has is able to spend 7-10 minutes with up to five of these career representatives. In addition to learning about a range of career options, the youths meet professionals who, based on our experiences, often end up staying connected to the young people they meet, serving as Life Coaches, mentors and door-openers.

In preparation for the Connect2Careers™ session, each youth prepares their resume and they learn interviewing and self-marketing skills through our Get Ready! web-based curriculum. Then Connect2Careers™ allows youth to test these newly acquired skills in a real world setting. Afterwards, each youth reviews the feedback given by the career representatives they meet.