My first “real” job, where I needed to sign a workers permit and pay taxes, was at a family run fast food place in my hometown called Chicken Coop (perhaps you’ve heard of their world famous Tiny Taters). Working at a young age not only gave me some financial independence and gas money, but it also instilled responsibility, work ethic and appreciation for the value of a dollar.
Not every youth has such an advantage, and lack of prior work experience can be a huge hindrance for young people seeking employment. In 2015, local Goodwill® organizations provided job training and career counseling to nearly 335,000 youth age 16 to 24, including:
- Career planning focused on interests and skills.
- Guidance from experts and peers as the individuals chart their education and career path.
- Service learning opportunities that allow youth to contribute to their community and career goals.
- Support to help youth complete high school and begin a path toward college or other training.
- Assistance preparing for a strong financial future through workshops, training and education that focuses on money management and planning skills.
Many local Goodwills also offer youth mentoring programs to connect youth with adults who can help them leverage their strengths and make choices that support their goals. The experience that Goodwill organizations have in working with youth like Tina Boutaic, who may have a blank resume, limited education, or no meaningful connections to employers is why Goodwill Industries® is pleased to support the efforts of President Obama and his Administration in launching the #FirstJob Hiring and Recruiting Compact. The compact is a set of best practices that were designed with leading companies in hiring and promoting young people who are not in school or working.
In his budget announced earlier this year, President Obama proposed investments for the Departments of Labor and Education to support programs for out of work youth. The recently awarded TechHire grant, trains people for careers in technology, builds off of the progress for training people for high growth and in demand jobs. Local Goodwill organizations participating in the grant will target youth ages 17-29 for one-third of their enrollment in the program.
My time at Chicken Coop may not have a direct correlation to my future career as a lawyer and government relations professional, however it certainly put me on a pathway. Continued collaborations between employers, school districts, government, and nonprofits like Goodwill can result in many more youth being put on the same path so they can gain the skills and experiences needed to advance in their own careers.
We want to hear about how your first job led you to future achievements! Comment below or chat with us on Twitter using #FirstJob.