The following was originally published at The Intertwine and was written by Thao Nguyen. It has been modified to fit The Commons audience.
A Youth Mentoring Collaborative based in Portland, Oregon recently hosted a Youth Environmental Job Fair & Teen Night to help attract a more diverse group of teens to their environmental careers program.
The event was organized to accomplish three major goals:
- make spring recruitment for employment programs more efficient
- get feedback from youth to guide the collaborative’s future work
- bring together youth leaders from the collaboration’s programs to celebrate past accomplishments.
An emphasis was placed on opportunities to help youth develop professionalism, communication, and leadership skills with an eye toward discovering emerging environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds.
Current youth members made presentations and led games and group discussions about past experiences and expectations. Teens said the event felt very different from most job fairs they had attended. Instead of going from table to table and picking up information, they were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to make new friends and professional contacts. Attendees represented a wide range of races and ethnicities and came from a variety of local neighborhoods.
The Youth Mentoring Collaborative was formed in 2013 to unite organizations that connect diverse youth to nature and environmental careers. The collaborative is made up of more than 50 nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies. Over the years, these programs have provided numerous jobs and internships to youth who are now pursuing college degrees with an environmental emphasis and are moving into leadership positions.
In Your Own Backyard
Non-standard recruiting events are a great way to reach a new, more diverse generation of future leaders. This is a visual generation and making the case for why environmental careers matter can include maps of their own neighborhoods and the factors at play there. Click on any of the interactive maps below to see and save this data for your own area.
Bring employment stakeholders to the table by illustrating the need to improve job skills for youth, especially those from diverse backgrounds, with maps like these.
Environmental movements, as well as all job sectors, will benefit from a well trained, mentored generation of young people that are inspired to be change-makers.