The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities for different kids at different ages and stages of development to benefit, whether the focus is on social and emotional learning, teamwork and communications skills, or concrete experience at paid internships.
In the Minneapolis Beacons afterschool programs, elementary school students learn and play collaboratively in groups, practicing active listening, considering and respecting different perspectives, and reaching consensus in a group setting. On the other side of the spectrum, high schoolers in Sunrise of Philadelphia’s afterschool program create five-year road maps for themselves, participate in mock interviews, and have the opportunity to work in a variety of paid internships.
Programs are helping students discover potential career pathways, connecting students to real-world workplace experience, and guiding students to build the foundational skills that will benefit students in school and when they enter the workforce. Afterschool Alliance’s new issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, examines the ladder of supports that afterschool programs provide students to help them thrive beyond school, as they grow into adults into their future careers.
Afterschool Spotlights complement the issue brief, providing additional information on the featured programs that are supporting their students as they explore their career passions and develop the skills to reach and succeed in their careers. Each spotlight includes the program’s history and what a typical day looks like for students, as well as recommendations from programs on ways to add or enhance workforce readiness supports in other programs. Programs include:
- Minneapolis Beacons, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- YWCA Greater Miami-Dade Clubhouse, Miami, Florida
- The City, Salina, Kansas
- MEDTwo, Columbia, South Carolina
- Sunrise of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- EVOULUTIONS After School Program (Evoking Learning and Understanding Through Investigations in the Natural Sciences), New Haven, Connecticut
Read the full issue brief to learn more about the unique and engaging ways afterschool programs are helping students build the skills and gain the experience that can lead them to discover and fulfill their career aspirations.