4-H workforce preparation programming reached 1,368 youth in 2015

Workforce preparation workshops, programs and educational events help youth build employability skills.

Throughout 2015, Michigan 4-H staff members and trained volunteers taught workforce preparation concepts and integrated workforce preparation education into 4-H programming, reaching 1,368 youth in 45 Michigan counties. Venues included everything from county fair interviews, workshops, in-school and afterschool sessions and mock interview events to series of sessions for summer employment programs and camps. It was also common to partner and work with intermediate school districts or regional education service agencies, juvenile centers, foster care youth involved in Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative and Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

This was in an effort to help 4-H members and non-4-H youth:

  • Increase basic knowledge of employability skills and have self-awareness as it relates to future career possibilities.
  • Apply skills necessary for employment.
  • Be workforce ready.

Topics included communication skills, interview skills, resumes, employability portfolios, dress for success, record keeping and marketing sessions predominantly focused on youth raising market livestock projects. From the 108 youth surveyed, participants indicated that as a result of 4-H workforce preparation programming:

  • 44.8 percent gained confidence in their ability to identify challenges in the workplace or career and find solutions.
  • 46.7 percent increased their ability to identify resources to assist them in career maintenance and development.

In addition, youth indicated that:

  • 86 percent (N=63) agreed or strongly agreed they could identify the options available for funding their post-secondary education.
  • 76 percent (N=71) agreed or strongly agreed they knew the importance of networking.
  • 92 percent (N=76) agreed or strongly agreed they were prepared for a job interview. 

When participants were asked what they learned that would help them in the future, participants shared:

  • “This program will help with leadership and also working in a positive group setting.”
  • “I will now have more job opportunities if I use the skills that I have brushed up on in this class and make good team decisions.”
  • “What I learned will help me interact with a multitude of diverse people in the work force.”
  • “It taught me more about what 21st century employers are looking for in the workplace and what I should improve on for work-related skills.”
  • “I practiced an interview and perfected my resume and it helped me A TON!”

To learn more about the ways Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is helping young people develop employability skills and explore potential careers, read Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.  For ideas on how to help young people successfully prepare for their future, visit our online Workforce Preparation Resources.  

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