Summer is in full swing, but that doesn’t mean that learning opportunities have ceased. This July, DirectEmployers Association hosted its second summer Youth Enhancement Summer Program, focusing on local Indianapolis high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing business and related fields. The initiative is one of the ways the Association continues to pledge its commitment to the Youth Jobs+ program, initiated in 2012 by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor.
From July 22-26, the Youth Enhancement Summer Program exposed students to the day-to-day operations and procedures at DirectEmployers Association. The program invited other local employers in the Indianapolis area, like Angie’s List and the Women’s Mentoring Network, to speak to and inspire the youth participants on developing their careers and continued growth. During the weeklong summer camp, the students were able to tour the Indianapolis City Council building and meet the Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Shirley Romine, host at the City Council building, remarked on the students eagerness to learn saying, “I couldn’t help but remember the politeness and the attentiveness of your young people.”
To help gain hands-on experience in the business field, the students were assigned a group project to work on throughout the program. The students were split into two teams and asked to create a business plan, complete with a budget, marketing and business development ideas. Through this project, DirectEmployers helped to cultivate the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to work within a corporate setting. As the program came to an end, the students presented their business plans to several DirectEmployers staff members and were critiqued on their presentation. “The opportunity to mentor and learn from each one of the students this year was a humbling experience for me. The program owes its success to the students’ dedication to learn from the experience,” commented Gloria Oluseye-Are, Summer Enhancement Program Director and Member Services Intern, DirectEmployers Association.
While summer typically represents free time and a break from schooling, the participating students came with an eagerness to learn and enthusiasm to take advantage of the opportunities DirectEmployers provided them. Over the course of the next year, DirectEmployers will track the students’ progress and provide mentorship opportunities to help each participant achieve their goals.
Bess Evans is a Public Engagement Advisor in the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Gloria Oluseye-Are is the Summer Enhancement Program Director and Member Services Intern, DirectEmployers Association