There were 500 motivated students from 14 high schools who chose to spend 2 weeks of their summer expanding their vision for college and careers at 9 different community college campuses, including HCC, Lone Star, San Jacinto, and Lee college systems. Bold ideas and innovative projects were used to prepare them for their future! These workshops were rendered in a myriad of hands-on activities and classroom learning, all geared to help define their pathway to success.
The overall goal of the program each summer is to introduce students to “middle skills” occupations which require more education than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree. Although students may have already decided on a career path, they were given the opportunity to entertain other middle skill career paths that are available. The colleges involved in the Summer Institutes program offered hands-on industry experiences in the following fields:
|Oil & Gas||I.T.||Welding|
|Mechanical engineering||Sonography||Pharmacy Tech|
|Physical Therapy Tech||Logistics||Bio-Engineering|
|And much more…|
Part of Workforce Solutions overall mission is to help people “find a job, keep a job, or get a better job” in order to secure their financial future. In effort to do this, Workforce has created the “Gulf Coast High Skill-High Growth jobs” booklet. The information contained in the booklet highlights positions that pay above average wages, and are expected to grow through the year 2022.
The Project Grad organization introduced students to the cost difference in attending a private versus public college or university. Students learned that a work program certificate or Associate’s Degree can lead to a stable career more quickly than a four year degree, and often a higher salary. Interactive field trips were also part of the itinerary. The field trips included visits to work sites such as Eaton Technologies, Baker Hughes, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Boomerang Tubing; as well as university tours including Sam Houston State University, UH-Downtown, and St. Thomas University.
Students who participated in the Summer Institutes ranged from freshman to senior level, from all over the Houston area. From day-one, students learned labor market and career preparation skills including networking, interviewing, and how to identify a path for their career choices. In doing so, the students increased their confidence and improved the ability to speak to specific audiences. For instance, they learned how to answer popular interview questions such as “why should I hire you?” or “tell me about yourself.” Answers to these and other questions helped students develop what is referred to as the “30-second commercial.”
The 30-second commercial is a tool used to summarize a job applicant’s experience and interests in a short speech before attention is distracted, or disinterest occurs. The 30-Second Commercial was presented to a panel of real employers in the second week. Human Resource professionals from Chase, Shell, GEICO, Montessori Schools, and other companies volunteered for mock panel interviews. The student’s came dressed for success to present their 30-Second Commercials, and the employers were highly impressed.
The 30-Second Commercial was also used as a launching point for the student’s final project. In the final project, each student illustrated their soft skills and technical expertise by preparing a video to showcase their career goals through pictures and text from social media and the Internet. The videos were presented to family and friends at each of the 9 closing ceremonies celebrating the students 2 weeks of accomplishments and activities. 150-250 families proudly supported their students, who in many cases were the first to go beyond the high school level in their studies and training. Just below this paragraph is a video of the Summer Institutes program at H.C.C. Coleman campus
This was my first year to be a part of this project and I learned that these students are very creative, and motivated to be successful. They have already designed robots, skyscrapers and model homes, as well as earned certificates in cosmetology and other science fair awards. They are now taking classes related to their future goals in engineering, medical, welding, construction science and architectural design courses offered as dual credits (i.e., community college and high school credits at the same time)! These students are stellar and will certainly be successful in their future! I am glad I was a part of such an amazing experience for students who want to secure their future in a career that will be satisfying and profitable!
Kristin Cole is a member of the Regional Facilitator team and specializes in training the workforce in finding a job, keeping a job, and getting a better job. She has a passion for helping people successfully get from one stage in their life to another. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a Master’s of Arts in Counseling from Sam Houston State University. She has 12 years’ experience as a trainer, teaching Special Education, Job Seekers and Foster Parents. After leaving her career in teaching, she utilized the Workforce Services to get a better job and became an Employment Counselor for 2 ½ years and was promoted to Facilitator and continued her passion as a trainer! She has 6 years of employment with Workforce Solutions.
JoAnn Kawamoto is a Workforce Solutions Regional Facilitator for the Houston – Galveston area, conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. She applies her B.Ed. and over 15 years of Workforce Development, Allied Healthcare, and Contract Management to connect potential employees with employers.