Founder and Head: Hailey Kay
Co-Leaders: Cleo Carney and Sydney Little
ElmEmploy is a student-founded program that allows high school students to bridge the skills gap between school and the workforce. The program helps Elmwood students develop real-world employment skills and connects them to local businesses through a network of employer partnerships & student support. Before students seek employment opportunities through ElmEmploy, they are required to undergo our four-week training program, where established guest speakers mentor the participants about a variety of topics, including interview skills, online presence, communication and distinguishing yourself in the workplace.
How it began:
After realizing the power of our shared collective knowledge in helping each other succeed in our personal job hunts, as a group we wanted to design a program with our school community to help students succeed in better preparing for opportunities outside of school. To design our program and strategy, we first surveyed our school community and approached local businesses to understand their challenges in hiring young people. We sought advice on our ideas from community organizations, including JA Canada (Junior Achievers) and CERC Ottawa (Community Employment Resource Centre). Through delegation of tasks and weekly meetings, our team worked together to produce an offering that would maximize the resources around us to educate our peers. We determined that the most effective approach would be a four-week curriculum consisting of weekly sessions with guest speakers to target key skills. We also compiled a job board by building relationships with employers. To better understand the aim of our participants, we facilitated open discussions with members. We learned they preferred meaningful experiences tied to their future career aspirations and adapted to promote internships at a design studio and psychology clinic. Dedicating well over 100 hours, our group of 14 students in 2022 jump-started their future careers and developed lifelong connections.
Plans for 2023:
The pilot of ElmEmploy is just the beginning of what we are excited to expand upon this year. In the coming months, we plan to host an in-person employer networking event in honour of International Women's Day. Responding to parent feedback, we are also increasing the number of volunteer opportunities to be more inclusive to international students who cannot work in Canada without citizenship.
How can you support our goals?
ElmEmploy is a program that is dependent on the ability to provide information about potential opportunities in the professional workplace. After completing the course, students should feel prepared to test their skills in the work and volunteer world. We endeavour to spread awareness about as many openings for our students as possible, so if you are affiliated with a business (or know of someone who is) that is in need of Elmwood students available for volunteering, paid or unpaid internships, please contact: Jennifer Irwin-Jackson or Hailey Kay.
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Thank you for your support!