Your Connecting Activities Newsletter - June 2020
A message from Cristy:
Let’s be ready to continue the momentum next fall!

Greetings CA partners,

It’s been a challenging year. Nonetheless, pre and post COVID-19, Connecting Activities and local high schools have worked together to make an impact on students’ lives, helping them to gain the knowledge, skills, and awareness to make informed college and career decisions.

To continue the momentum, we call on each of our partner school to start thinking NOW about how you can take advantage of Connecting Activities services next year. Read through this edition of the newsletter – see what we’ve accomplished this year, services available, and especially, take a look at Jessy Abramson’s article on best practices in partnering with our CA program.

I’ll be giving principals and guidance counselors a call to set up a Zoom meeting in August to plan how we’ll work together next fall. I look forward to hearing from you on how our Connecting Activities services can best meet the needs of your students.

In the meantime, have a great summer and keep well!
Cristy and the CA Team
Youth Workforce Program Manager
2019-20 Connecting Activities Achievements
Tips on How to Take Advantage of CA

Before working at Lawrence High School, Jessy M. Abramson was the MassHire Connecting Activities Youth Counselor. We asked her for suggestions on how schools can best take advantage of MassHire Connecting Activities resources. 

Plan early, share priorities and schedules.
Meet with the CA Team early to share priorities and schedules and discuss possible new initiatives in the pipeline that could be enhanced with Connecting Activities support.

Suggestion: Plan your big events for the year, such as job shadow day and career fairs, and then meet with your CA team to discuss resources the school has available, and what you need from CA to make events a success.

Make sure teachers & guidance staff know about Connecting Activities services. 
Educate, and re-educate teachers and staff each year so they know how Connecting Activities can help. Spectacular examples:

  • Teachers often want to connect real life jobs and careers to the subject they’re teaching. Ask the CA team to arrange a field trip or employer panel. Have CA invite a professional to present in the classroom like a nurse in health class or a green chemist in chemistry. CA pays for the bus, refreshments and a chaperone for field trips. 
  • Let teachers know when CA staff are onsite so they can direct students to one-on-one guidance.
  • Do you have an Innovation Pathway internship program? Ask the CA team to prep students for internship success, and help you with employer contacts!

Make the connection.
Once students have a CA contact, there follows a progression of touch points with CA that pays off with big results. A student may start by getting help with a resume. Then attend an activity or event. Go on a job shadow and connect with an employer. Then enroll in an internship program, to later apply for a summer YouthWorks job – and the youth is off following a career pathway.

Leverage time and resources to increase capacity to serve students.
CA helps expand career development opportunities to more students. Counselors know their students best but have limited time. Leverage CA staff and resources to increase the number of students involved in a great variety of school to career activities. And remember, the CA team knows the local labor market and employer needs. They can quickly make the connection between students learning and interests and career opportunities ahead.

Creating opportunities for CA staff to successfully engage and connect with students is key to effectively delivering career development education. To that end, Jessy created a “go-to” website as a resource for teacher, students and partners. You can visit the site here .

Photo: LHS 10 graders visit to the State House. Rosangela Amaro from Connecting Activities is to the far left (in white) and Jessy Abramson is to the far right. CA provided transportation, lunch expenses, and a chaperone. 
Innovation Pathway - Are You Ready?
YouthWorks Strong

Thank you to partner schools and local youth serving organizations for your collaboration in recruiting 14-21 year old youth for the Merrimack Valley YouthWorks Summer 2020 subsidized employment program!

It’s a summer of firsts – including the first time we are enrolling youth through online applications and eligibility documentation submitted online, as well as online applications by employers.

Our most notable “first” is the Commonwealth Corporation designed YouthWorksStrong virtual career development program. This robust program will provide a range of opportunities from career readiness skill development to rigorous career-focused project-based learning to career pathway training in high-demand fields.

Significant stipends, ongoing case management and support services will ensure that participants have the resources and guidance to thrive. Highlights include:

  • Signal Success – self paced and live interactive offerings.
  • Rigorous project based learning such as Mastering the Medium of Podcasting and Conducting an Oral History of COVID-19 in your Community
  • Lunch and learn career exploration
  • Career Pathway Training in areas such as Health Care Career exploration, and Web Design

Regardless of the current challenges, Massachusetts youth and young adults will have a summer of learning, career growth and support with YouthWorksStrong.
Career Development Education (CDE) = Awareness + Exploration + Immersion
Connecting Activities is a program funded by the MA Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education. 
It’s operated by the MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board.