Bangor—In June 2013, 11 area youth began the road trip of a lifetime. They may not have traveled many miles, but they did go far as participants in the first year of EMDC’s workforce development program Career Compass, which celebrated with a graduation style event on October 3rd.
Career Compass is part of the EMDC Workforce Investment Act youth program, funded by the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board, and serves economically disadvantaged youth ages 16-21 from Penobscot, Piscataquis and Hancock counties. The program provides young people with a variety of services such as occupational skill training, work readiness, basic skills remediation, and work experience with local businesses and organizations.
Career Compass also incorporates a nationally recognized curriculum called RoadTrip Nation which focuses on self-awareness, self-reflection, and career exploration. The 12-week Career Compass program which blends employability (soft skill) training, guest speakers, career exploration, and 3rd party certifications with work experiences with local employers was designed to create employable, experienced, career conscious youth. Each youth is assigned EMDC Career Advisor who is committed to assisting young people in pursuing their goals and helping them take control of their future.
“My experience with Career Compass was the best. I met some really good friends. I learned who I was, and what my quality and potential is. I also learned to speak up for myself. I really learned to step out of my comfort zone,” student participant Gabrielle Cameron shared during the celebration.
An important part of the Career Compass experience included 8-weeks of work experience for each student. EMDC worked with a number of area businesses who agreed to mentor the students for 20-25 hours per week. Partner businesses included: WS Emerson, Penobscot Theatre Company, The Town of Brownville, The City of Bangor, Carden Kennels, Seasons Restaurant, Main St Music Studios, The Bangor Y, and Hibbards Nursing Home, EMDC, and The Brewer Police Department.
“These students feel an incredible sense of pride for what they have accomplished,” Youth Program Coordinator Denise Smith said. “Not only are they leaving with skills they have developed for the workforce, they have the beginning of a professional portfolio that includes a professional resume, letter of recommendation, certifications, and evaluations from their supervisors.”
For more information on Career Compass and other youth programs through EMDC please visit us at www.emdc.org or visit an EMDC office located at the Bangor CareerCenter, Ellsworth Mill Mall, and Piscataquis and East Millinocket Higher Education Centers.