What career skills you need, how to get them, and why they're important
How CHCF partnered with Work ED to bring life-changing career discovery programs to Bronx Kids in NYC
Delivering free STEM-themed career discovery programs and an environment of positive mentorship in the Bronx: the “forgotten borough”Create your own custom program
Work ED has partnered with schools and companies to bring career-discovery programming to students across NYC.
Delivering impactful career-discovery programs to a part of NYC that suffers from high levels of poverty and a lack of resources and opportunity for young people.
Staffing shortages resulting in scarce resources for running enrichment programs
A lack of career-discovery programming opportunities in the most poverty-stricken NYC borough
A need for a safe environment supported by positive role models
A fully-staffed solution to help ease staffing shortages
CHCF was able to use Work ED as a turnkey solution: fully staffed, well-trained, and ready to hit the ground running.
Career-discovery programs on fun, tech-themed topics for grades 1 - 5
CHCF was able to use Work ED's proven curriculum to hit their aims of providing tech-themed career-discovery skills to local youngsters—and kids (and their parents!) loved it.
An environment of social-emotional learning that helped young people express themselves, develop confidence, and practice teamwork
CHCF helped students work on their emotional regulation and foster a sense of agency and community through Work ED's social-emotional learning approach and community event that left a lasting impact.
How CHCF delivered impactful programs for young Bronx kids with Work ED
CHCF enlisted Work ED and its local, well-trained staff to run fun career-readiness programs, including robotics! Copyright Work ED.
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF) mission statement is to:
“Combine education, capacity-building, and advocacy to strengthen the support system and continuum of learning for children and youth.”
Since 1982, CHCF has been one of the few Latino organizations in New York that combines direct service with policy work to amplify minority voices at the local, state, and national levels.
One of the direct services CHCF focuses on is providing afterschool program access to children aged 6 - 13 in The Bronx. It’s a much needed service in a borough with some of the hardest-hitting poverty rates in the US, serving schools P.S. 59, The Community School of Technology, and P.S./M.S. 279.
The Bronx is a unique part of New York City. It’s a diverse borough, with a population that’s 56.4% Hispanic and 27.7% Black, with a long history of producing ambitious, successful people, from James Baldwin to Jennifer Lopez. However, The Bronx also has a the highest rate of poverty in New York. In 2021, the poverty rate in The Bronx was 26.4%, compared to the 18% average across NYC. Within The Bronx itself, the highest poverty rate is found in Community District 5, with a 5-year average poverty rate of 35.4% between 2015-2019.
Community District 5 is home to P.S./M.S. 279. This school sits in the Community District with the highest poverty rate in The Bronx, which has the highest poverty rate of any borough in the State of New York.
The odds are stacked against the young people that attend P.S./M.S. 279. Many of them have grown up in poverty, with many more growing up in near poverty (NYCGov calculates near poverty as those with a household income of 150% of the poverty threshold, and estimates that in 2019, near-poverty rates in NYC as a whole were 40.8%). Attending school alone is unfortunately not enough to guarantee an escape from poverty in The Bronx.
Knowing this, CHCF aims to provide young people in the area with access to developmentally-appropriate programs outside of the school day, including afterschool and during the summer break. Unfortunately, the logistics of launching such programs, especially post-pandemic, are not straightforward.
Finding a fully-staffed solution
Work ED hires local staff that make children feel safe and heard so they can learn their own way. Copyright Work ED.
One of the main barriers is that staffing these types of programs is a challenge. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, staffing shortages have been an issue across the country. CHCF needed a partner that could provide staff. And not just any staff—staff that understand the situations Bronx kids can grow up in and are well trained to handle the emotional challenges kids face. Thankfully, CHCF discovered Work ED.
Work ED had been running afterschool and intersession programs primarily in California, but they had also been growing a team in NYC led by Brooklynite Darren Sanchez, NYC Program Manager.
Darren has worked in NYC education for many years. Not only did he grow up in a borough neighboring The Bronx, he’s seen first-hand the challenges that certain boroughs face in his home city. Opportunities are scarce, as Darren explains:
“The Bronx can be a ‘forgetten borough’. Students are eager and always willing to learn new things but there’s issues with lack of exposure to opportunities and resources to run them..”
– Darren Sanchez, NYC Program Manager, Work ED
Darren, knowing the challenges that CHCF faced in getting their programs off the ground, reached out about Work ED’s fully-staffed programs.
It was a great match. CHCF programs have a focus on technology, STEM, and academic support. Work ED focuses on teaching young people soft skills through innovative curriculum based on future-facing, tech-oriented topics.
The curriculum worked. CHCF chose:
Video game design
Entrepreneurship (how to launch a business startup)
As you can see from the pictures throughout this page, the curriculum was a hit with the students. They learned to code a working robot (that chased targets across a whiteboard), design their very own video game concept (see a finished game concept from a Work ED student), and learn the basics of how to launch their own business and manage their finances.
But the impact of this CHCF program went far beyond the curriculum.
Social-emotional learning and community-building
Social-emotional learning helps develop emotional regulation, collaboration skills, and a sense of community. Copyright Work ED.
It’s the aim of CHCF programs to create community engagement. Through this Work ED program, CHCF was able to do this in two ways:
Social-emotional learning that helps young people learn to self-regulate, build relationships, and understand their impact in their community.
A community day at the end of the program where parents, caregivers, and family are invited to see the students’ projects, meet the staff, and enjoy food together as everyone celebrates as a community.
Work ED uses a social-emotional learning (SEL) approach. SEL means acknowledging and celebrating each student as a unique individual with emotions, needs, ideas, and ways of learning that don’t always vibe with the one-size-fits-all approach to traditional classroom education.
When students come from different backgrounds and experiences, SEL helps students understand what they are capable of, and teaches them the value respecting others’ unique stories and abilities, too. SEL frameworks help young people develop skills around teamwork and communication, emotional regulation, and empathy. These skills ripple outwards into stronger school and community connections, and help young people feel a sense of belonging—a crucial emotional trait that kids from immigrant or minority families, or those with disabilities, can struggle to feel.
Work ED also hired staff locally to build out its NYC operations, led by Darren Sanchez. He knew that making a connection with students is crucial, and only hired staff he knew could make genuine connections. And he’s seen the impact the programs and staff had on students:
“Seeing WorkED come in and assist CHCF with providing programs to expand the minds of the youth has been great. We are seeing that the students are engaged, having fun, letting loose and expanding their creative side.”
Darren Sanchez, NYC Program Manager, Work ED
And Darren isn’t the only one. Glendaliz Valdez has also been impressed by the impact the Work ED program has had on students:
“Our Students have received the Work ED Curriculum extremely well, are fully engaged, excited about the program, and are eager for things to come.”
– Glendaliz Valdez, Director of Programs for The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
Through the program, students that entered the door as shy or disruptive students had the opportunity to express themselves in a supportive environment. They worked in teams, using creativity and their own initiative to create fun solutions to their projects, culminating in a presentation in front of proud parents and caregivers watching on—skills that will set them up well in life whatever pathway they choose, and help them realize the power they have to take control of their own future, both in school and beyond.
Who had a great time on this Work ED program? Copyright Work ED.
Programs Launched for CHCF:
Video Game Design
Join a newly formed Game Design Studio with your fellow classmates as you work together to create your studios’ first video game project! Your team will be tasked with coming up with the initial concept for your game, building out the prototype, and presenting it to potential investors to see your creativity take flight. Take up a role in the studio as a designer, programmer, or project manager to help contribute to the final video game concept launch! This real-life simulation with industry will teach you what it’s really like to work in game development. Learn about your passions and talent through this exciting evolution!
Students work on creating their own video game concept in teams throughout the program, defining the important elements which make a finished game such as level design, character creation, and world building. Students will need to identify who their target audience is by following our Game Design Framework and through this fun evolution pitch their game concepts to “investors” who give them constructive feedback on their ideas.
Skills & Knowledge:
From the nuances of selling their finished product to the complexities of code that bring them to life, students will get an under-the-hood look at how their favorite games are produced. By taking a look at every step of the process from brainstorming their concept to releasing it on the market, students will understand what it takes to build an intriguing game for the world to play. Additionally, students get to learn about themselves through the axis of creative and technical skills that video game creation provides, which builds a strong foundation for future career exploration.
Have you wondered what makes a robot tick?
In this program you’ll learn to code a friendly robot, working as a team to help it solve challenges while learning about all the different ways you could work in robotics as a career.
Each day presents a new challenge for students to work through as they seek to solve the problems by coding the robot correctly. Students will have the opportunity to apply simple coding to overcome basic obstacles which makes it a great place for beginner coding students.
Skills & Knowledge
Students will understand the structure and different types of code that help control the systems all throughout our society. They will also gain the fundamental skills needed to pursue coding after our program while having a starting point to build off of. Whether it’s working in groups or on their own, students will gain the knowledge required to overcome basic obstacles through robotics and code.
Come together with your fellow students to develop your own startup business and first product idea! See what's made other companies successful like Nike, Adidas, Instagram and Tik Tok and use your team's creativity to develop your first idea. After learning how to identify your customer and validate their problems it's onto the fun part, creating a solution! Creating a great product is just as important as finding customers to buy it. How will you sell your product to your customer? How will it solve the customer’s problem? What new value will you create for your customer? How do you compare to the competitors? Learn from real companies’ successes and failures while creating solutions for customers, just like you will with your startup team. This real-life simulation will teach you the realities of working in the business world and the challenges you would face everyday.
Students are placed into teams to form their first company and first product or service they build around a societal problem or need. Students will identify why the product matters to their customer and how it is solving their problem. Through the given industry framework students will build out the product design, marketing pieces, pricing, and overall their team “pitch” to investors seeking to support their company's big new launch!
Skills & Knowledge:
Students will learn a scoped down and simplified version of the lean methodology: picking a problem, identifying who has this problem and who would buy a potential solution. Ideating a solution and how to gather information on whether people like your solution enough to buy. Students need to think critically beyond just a tagline.
Discover More From the Work ED blog
- What is career readiness?
- The Future is Now: Preparing Students for the Drone Revolution
Why drones make great afterschool programs
- How to teach soft skills in afterschool and enrichment programs
Soft skills help young people get hired. This is how to use afterschool and enrichment programs to teach soft skills.
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