The U.S. is still wrestling with high unemployment, yet 49% of employers report difficulty filling open positions. Students who are involved in career exploration are more likely to plan their high school courses of study carefully to gain the skills they will need for the jobs that await them after graduation.
The Talent Dividend set audacious goals to close this gap:
- Every student in Milwaukee will create an academic and career plan and each will have the confidence to pursue a path that directly speaks to his or her interests and skills
- Develop an online platform to connect students in Milwaukee with a variety of opportunities to explore the world of work and cultivate their passions and interests
- Connect every student to professionals and mentors in Milwaukee to guide and support them through their academic and early career choices
When the Talent Dividend program began, none of these opportunities yet existed.
To achieve its goals, the GMC’s Talent Dividend initiative partnered with Community Career Connections, Inc., and Milwaukee Public Schools to create the My Life! My Plan! workshop. My Life! My Plan! uses experiential learning about career clusters and pathways in Southeastern Wisconsin. Each student works with volunteer career coaches to set goals and next steps. Students gain access to programs, information and resources to plan for career and education pathways.
The Talent Dividend collaborated with state public officials to require academic and career planning opportunities for all students. The academic and career plan mandate, issued on May 21st, 2013, requires all students, beginning in 6th grade, to engage in academic and career planning activities. This process builds on students’ interests and passions throughout their middle and high school careers.
Subsequently, we now partner with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by serving on the Academic and Career Planning Advisory Council. The council guides the rollout of the academic and career plan mandate to all students in Wisconsin by the 2017-18 school year.
The Talent Dividend assisted Community Career Connections, Inc., in rolling out Inspire Southeast Wisconsin, an online community development platform that enables connections between employers and their future workforce. In many ways, Inspire is the 2.0 version of our My Life! My Plan! workshop. It allows businesses to create profiles and helps students foster career interests and connect with businesses and mentors on an ongoing basis. Best of all, Community Career Connections, Inc. – the same consultant that worked with the GMC to launch the My Life! My Plan! workshop program – leads the Inspire efforts.
Due to all of these successes, our My Life! My Plan! workshop looked very different in the 2015-16 school year and played a different role in this much-advanced academic and career planning landscape. The My Life! My Plan! workshop was fully integrated into Inspire Southeast Wisconsin’s efforts.
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