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When The Universe Says, “Pivot”, What Does Apprentice Learning Do?

“…..we must create a virtual pathway to obtaining what our kids deserve. It is our obligation to pivot: to learn and teach new steps. We know that many worksites across the city are ready and willing to partner with us in this dance. “

Post by Letta Neely, Apprentice Learning Program Director

COVID-19. We could stop there, except, we can’t. We have too much at stake.  The world as we know it has lost its clothing and all is laid bare. Schools, businesses, parks, and malls are closed. With all this, one could presume that the work of Apprentice Learning has no place in this “new world”; that everything is on pause because our Apprentices have no worksites to visit each week; because summer programs may cease to exist during a global pandemic. There are a lot of ways we could hear, “NO!” in the stillness. 

However, at Apprentice Learning, we hear obligation and opportunity. Our mission:  “Leveraging career explorations to teach skills and nurture dreams” still applies. Our clarion call “to spark passions and interests; to give a sense of purpose to a young person’s present and future” hasn’t changed. 

So when the Universe says, “Pivot”, we pivot. 

In this new world, we still must provide a patina of normalcy for middle school students. We must continue to believe in and to provide a foundation for the future. In the world of remote work, a number of essential skills remain the same: eye contact, proper greeting, knowing one’s signature strength and primary learning styles. And…there is more to do now, more to do differently. 

There is opportunity in this new time to teach and model a newly emerging set of essential skills: remote work habits, oral and written communication skills,  presentation efficacy, time management and organization, personal drive, team work, and independence; and lastly, problem-solving mindset and trouble-shooting capacity. 

These are skills that our middle school students need in this new world (whether it remains virtual in the long-term or not).  Helping middle schoolers develop, maintain and augment these capacities widens their horizon. Becoming fluent with these “emerging essentials” will broaden our Apprentices’ access to their future careers and other dreams. These are skills we can teach. So, we must create a virtual pathway to obtaining what our kids deserve. It is our obligation to pivot; to learn and teach new steps. We know that many Worksites across the city are ready and willing to partner with us in this dance. 

Host an Apprentice: Together, we educate for the future.

Preparations are underway in schools for Spring apprenticeships. Over six weeks, eighth graders are identifying their strengths and interests, practicing handshakes and eye contact, all while learning about each of the apprenticeship options available to them beginning in the first week of March.

This past fall, most all apprentices (83%) had a perfect attendance rate. This demonstrates how engaged our apprentices were and that they had a sense of responsibility for showing up at their worksites—a valuable work habit! 

….when it comes to a job, you always have to be on time and polite in order to do things right.  —Angie, Community Servings

By creating these small successes, and linking them to larger goals, apprentices see the important link between career and school success. And we encourage those who did not succeed to try again!

We are enormously grateful to our 70+ worksite partners across the city who invite students into their workplaces and mentor them to succeed at work. Take a look at our list of site partners! Would you consider hosting a young person? Click here to learn more!

We’re Hiring: City Summer Internship for Girls

Seeking a talented educator to lead our five-week, paid career internship for rising ninth grade girls.

City Summer Internship (CSI) is a summer internship program for girls entering ninth grade that provides $100 per week stipend. This five-week program introduces young women to opportunities in Boston’s economic engine neighborhoods using a blend of classroom-based career education activities and real-world experiences.

Five weeks of success seminars are paired with workplace explorations where the girls visit a variety of businesses, focusing on fields where women are underrepresented. Weekly preparation for workplace visits includes group discussions on goal setting, values, as well as practicing leadership, self-presentation, communication skills and self-advocacy in the workplace and beyond. The program is taught through a gender lens with an emphasis on unpacking gender and racial stereotypes.

Every facet of the program is designed to help understand and break through barriers that limit young women’s access to career opportunities in Boston.

City Summer Internship Program Dates: July 8 – August 11, 2020

The City Summer Instructor must be committed to girl’s development. The ideal candidate is professional, creative, flexible, able to teach a diverse array of curriculum concepts, and able to communicate with young people and adults. Above all, this person has the ability to spark curiosity, creativity, and confidence in all City Summer Interns. The City Summer Instructor is responsible for implementing the City Summer internship experience for up to 25 interns in a variety of classroom environments. She will support delivery of an intentional youth development program to increase girl’s confidence, positive work habits and professional skills and use classes and weekly explorations to spark interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and other careers where women are under represented. 

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Plan and co-deliver daily City Summer Internship lessons for up to 15 students per class.
  • Create a safe, respectful girl-centered learning environment.
  • Create and review weekly lesson plans with the Program Coordinator prior to delivery.
  • Create lesson plans that are culturally relevant for a diverse population of students.
  • Organize classroom to facilitate independence and self-control in students.
  • Work closely with all staff to track participants’ progress.
  • Contribute as a team member with other staff and do what is needed to succeed.
  • Communicate regularly with families.
  • Plan and support weekly workplace explorations.
  • Effectively utilize prep time to prepare for activities and explorations.

Skills & Requirements

  • Experience working with middle school girls required.
  • Experience working with diverse families and communities required.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills necessary to work with young people and their families, staff, and worksite partners.
  • Ability to manage up to 25 students in a safe, respectful environment.
  • Basic computer skills
  • Ability to walk distances of up to one mile, bend, lift, and move up to 20 lbs.
  • Proof of TB test within the last year
  • Bilingual Spanish/English preferred.
  • Must have a cell phone and active phone number

Terms: Employee at will. This a Temporary position. Employment Dates:  July 1 – August 13, 2020. Hours:  8 am to 4 pm.  Staff Orientation/Site Start Up:  July 1,2,6,7 2020. Wrap up: August 12, 2020.

To Apply

Please send your resume and a letter indicating highlighting your strengths and interest in the program to info@apprenticelearning.org. Position will be posted until it is filled.

Thank you, Cummings Foundation!

City Summer Interns at NorthStar Asset Management

We are so thrilled to receive a second year of generous funding from The Cummings Foundation.  Thank you, Bill and Joyce Cummings, Joel Swets and Joyce Vyriotes and all of the Cummings employees and volunteers who donate time to support the great work of social service and educational organizations across the region. Your support makes our work possible and we are more effective thanks to this very special grant.

What is My Learning Zone?

Model for Comfort, Learning and Panic Zones

Before an apprenticeship, we build students’ self-awareness with a variety of learning activities to help them understand their strengths, learning styles, interests and skills and how they can utilize their traits during their apprenticeships. This helps students overcome their nervousness and fear of “messing up.”

The “Comfort Zone Model” describes three zones that are common in any new learning situation: the comfort zone, the challenge zone, and the panic zone.  By explaining to the students that learning most often happens in the challenge zone, where one feels uncomfortable, nervous, and challenged, we help to them prepare for the “first day” nervousness they will feel at their apprenticeships.

As students recognize this uncomfortable feeling is a normal part of the learning process, it reminds them to activate the skills they practiced in the classroom to make the most of their workplace experience. Ary, from Jackson/Mann School, describes her experience at Brookline Booksmith as follows:

“Before my apprenticeship began I felt very nervous.  I was feeling nerves because I never had work experience before, and I felt it was going to be very challenging and new for me.  Now, I feel that my time at Brookline Booksmith is very helpful and fun, the people are very nice, and I learned so much there.” 

Encouraged by their mentors during the six weeks of apprenticeship, it becomes easier to move out of their comfort zone to the challenge zone.  As a young person gains confidence at the workplace, it is easier to embrace future challenge zones, including being successful in a paying summer job and beyond.

Introducing our Intern, Rebekah Lyon, College for Social Innovation

 

As AL expands to more schools and serves more students, interns play a crucial role in supporting program operations with teaching, administrative tasks and special projects. Apprentice Learning has been generously supported by volunteers from Boston University, Northeastern University and the College for Social Innovation, a semester-long internships for college students. Rebekah has joined us for 30 hours a week and is receiving college credit for her experience.

Hello! I am a second semester sophomore studying Psychology and Hospitality at the University of New Hampshire. This semester, I am excited to be working at Apprentice Learning as a Program Intern. I am living in Boston and interning at AL by way of a program called Semester in the City at the College for Social Innovation (CfSI).

For the next few months, I’ll be completing coursework for CfSI, supplemented by my field experience at Apprentice Learning. This semester, I look forward to exploring the city, making new connections, and getting to know the students.

I am very excited that CfSI matched me with Apprentice Learning because I’m passionate about work that focuses on community development and was hoping to engage with Boston’s youth during my time here. I grew up in Connecticut in a family where civic and community engagement felt as innate as breathing.

Although my time at Apprentice Learning has just begun, I’m already very inspired by the work the organization is doing. Giving Boston’s students the tools they need in order to succeed in the workforce as well as inspiring a sense of purpose is something I find very important. I am thrilled to be contributing to Apprentice Learning’s work in Boston Public Schools this semester! —Rebekah Lyon

College for Social Innovation
Semester in the City is a program that gives college students the opportunity to spend a semester doing hands-on learning through well-supported internships in the social sector.

APPLY NOW! City Summer Internship 2019

Apprentice Learning’s City Summer is a program for young women entering ninth grade that uses workplace experiences to develop mindsets for future success and improves engagement in the classroom by making concrete connections between personal success and career achievement.

COMPLETE THIS ONLINE APPLICATION FORM TO APPLY.

Using the rich array of businesses and organizations in Boston, City Summer Internship guides interns the exploration their interests and strengths and provides real world opportunities to build work readiness skills in communication, self-presentation and leadership. Partner organizations host interns at their workplace for engaging activities that model the culture of the organization and offer an opportunity to learn about the career field while interacting with professionals in the field. Partners have included, the MBTA, Suffolk Construction, Foley Hoag LLC, Commonwealth Kitchen, Hollister Institute, NorthStar Asset Management, and Menton Restaurant.

If you are a City Summer Intern Alumni, you are eligible to be a Peer Leader in the program. Please complete the on-line application form HERE.

Program Goals
1. Gain knowledge of local career opportunities and the steps it takes to get there.
2. Practice essential job readiness skills.
3. Narrow the opportunity gap by building wider social networks for participants.
4. Transition successfully to high school.

Program Objectives
1. Learn and practice the positive work habits essential to school and career success.
2. Provide academic enrichment to strengthen skills.
3. Use local businesses as workplace classrooms to create access and opportunity.
4. Provide a positive work experience for students.

City Summer Internship will hire 23 rising ninth graders (entering ninth grade in fall 2019). Interns will earn a weekly stipend of $85 per week from Apprentice Learning for meeting professional expectations. Additionally, two Peer Leaders will be hired from Program Alumnae.

Program Recruitment:
Eligible students include any rising ninth grade young woman who:
1. Completed an Apprentice Learning apprenticeship
2. Attends an Apprentice Learning partner school and is recommended by his/her teacher.
3. Is a resident of the City of Boston with preference given to low-income communities.

Program Dates: Monday, July 8 – August 9, 2019 (5 weeks)
Schedule: 9 am – 1 pm M-T-F, 9 am – 3 pm W – TH. Breakfast provided from 8:30-9:00 am.
Location: Urban College, 2 Boylston Street, Boston, 02116
Accessible by MBTA via the Orange Line, Green Lines, Silver and Red Line

COMPLETE THIS ONLINE APPLICATION FORM TO APPLY.

Making Connections: Northeastern University Volunteers

My name is Josie Lee, I’m a second year Chemical Engineering student at Northeastern University, and this semester I’ve been volunteering for Apprentice Learning. I had no idea what Apprentice Learning was until this semester, and from everything I’ve learned I truly think it’s a fantastic organization! The students are getting job exposure and have a wonderful opportunity to understand different work environments, and to discover their own passions. Having responsibility and working for tangible reward is something that encourages a lot of people, and it’s awesome these kids are exposed to that because it can motivate them throughout school to reach for responsibility and ultimately, the reward of a paying job.

I’ve loved volunteering for Apprentice Learning not only because I like the organization, but also because I get to interact with the kids. I’ve always loved volunteering because of the connections that I make. I love getting to talk to the kids and see what their view is about work, responsibility, and school. It’s interesting to hear what they say and to compare it with what I thought when I was their age and what I think now. Hearing their different perspectives is very refreshing, and I hope they take something positive from what I share with them. I hope that if they’re having trouble in any way, maybe I can offer an outsiders look and be a resource for them. Most of all, for me it’s all about making the connection and being as helpful as I can be as they travel to their apprenticeships and reflect on their work experience.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed volunteering with Apprentice Learning this semester, and I hope to return next semester!

Josie volunteered with Apprentice Learning through Northeastern University’s Husky Volunteer Team (HVT). We are grateful for all her help this semester. To learn more about HVT and other community service visit https://www.northeastern.edu/communityservice/

Family Business


Apprentice Learning has been around long enough that we have a few legacies. Like the Delgado family. Miguel did an apprenticeship in 2016 at MicroSoft and now has found solid footing as a designer with Artists for Humanity, blending his love of computers with his love of art. His younger brother, Adrian, is currently apprenticing at Ferris Wheels Bike Shop. He likes it so much and feels so much a part of the crew, tat he has asked if he can show up on Saturdays, too.

The secret sauce? Family engagement. Mary Delgado credits Apprentice Learning with creating new opportunities and vistas for her boys. But she has been an equal partner. During the matching process, we discussed ideas Adrian's placement and together, determined that the bike shop was a great fit. Mary even dropped by the bike shop at the end of Adrian's shift to see him at work. Mary and her boys attended our recent Skyline event and spoke about her experience with our program.

Family voices matter. We know our students will go further with all of us lending a hand.

Thank you Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation!

Steve Melo presents a check for $10,000 to Apprentice Learning board member Cinqué Dunham-Carson to support City Summer Internship.

When we opened our first bank account to launch Apprentice Learning, Eastern Bank in Ashmont was our choice for a community bank. We were warmly welcomed by Roxann Cooke, who is now Senior Vice President and Regional Manager.

Eastern Bank has supported Apprentice Learning’s growth as a banking partner and as a funder. We are thrilled to announce this $10,000 award in support women and girls, for our City Summer Internship program for rising ninth grade girls.

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