Work Opportunities For Young People to Build Their Skills
Young people need access to jobs and professional development opportunities to build skills and prepare for their post-high school lives. We believe that young people also deserve to be paid for their work and ideas. MYAN partners with organizations and supports programs that increase access to employment and internship opportunities for all young people. We compensate young people engaged in internships, leadership activities and research projects. One example of MYAN’s approach to partnering with organizations to implement quality initiatives for young people is the Gateway to Opportunity program.
Youth Employment: Gateway to Opportunity
The Gateway to Opportunity Program (G2O) connects low-income young people (both in-school and out-of-school) with paid, work-based learning projects during the summer. These projects help youth participants develop the 21st Century Skills required for success in their future careers. The G2O program is a new approach to work-based learning developed by the Cutler Institute’s Youth & Community Engagement (YCE) team at the University of Southern Maine. YCE and other local partners worked collaboratively to design the program from national best practices for youth employability. MYAN coordinates several host sites in the Portland area each summer and is working to expand the G2O program statewide.
The G2O model focuses on helping youth be successful in today’s workforce, with tangible outcomes for young people, their communities and the local economy. This strategy is integral to the G2O model’s principles:
- youth work in project teams rather than individually.
- youth have the freedom to self-direct their day-to-day tasks with guidance from supportive adults.
- youth reflect on employability development and learning.
- youth take ownership of designing their final work products.
- youth are supported by near-peer mentors who are undergraduate college students.
Examples of projects:
- Community Event Planning
- Design thinking, coding and app development and Technology
- Video production
- And community needs assessments
Internships for Young Adults
Internships are ladders of leadership—they provide young people a path to increasing levels of responsibility and management in our programs. Youth that graduate from programming can continue as interns and leaders to shape those programs and further develop their skills. Internships are a pivotal part of our team. They’re a two-way avenue for young people to inform our work and keep it relevant to youth experience, and for us to support interns in developing 21st century job skills and making impacts on youth engagement work in Maine.