As I See It
By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO
To succeed in life, students and young adults need to follow their passion and love for work. Many fail because they do not track down what their interests are. They fail because they do not pursue their passion. They fail because they don’t love their work. In 2016, Alyssa Lynch, Superintendent, Metropolitan Education School District (MetroEd) in San Jose, spoke before 435 graduates during the 2016 National Job Corps Commencement exercises said, “to succeed in life, you need to follow your passion and love for work”.
Lynch said “as graduates, your hard work paid-off, but it is just the beginning… This just goes to show that when you are interested in one thing, you can do better and do great things”.
Lynch spoke based on her experience as a student and a young adult entering the real world. She started her career as a teacher in a community college and found her career… her passion… in fashion, marketing, and career technical education. “Doing what you like is important,” Lynch said.
She urged the graduates to “take on as many careers as you can until you find your passion… Forget about failures because people can remember you from your success and not from your failures. “I was not born smart but I learned to be smart,” she said. Her honest-to-goodness philosophy in life helped her develop her passion for work.
She congratulated the graduates and told them to keep up the good work they have started and keep on working to succeed. Actually, Lynch’s advice to the graduates apply to all students and young adults who are about to enter and just started to work in the real world. They need to prepare themselves in entering the workforce and if they are already working, they need to be practical and flexible in life.
Students’ passion for work, however, needs to be complimented by schools that teach the students based on a real world learning program. According to Richard Chang in his article Chicago Tech Academy Launches Second Annual Real World Learning Program, the school is implementing a project-based learning attuned to the community. This is what we need because if students see the connect between their school and their environment, they will be motivated to learn more and develop their passion for work. This will also reduce the number of unemployed graduates.
A news release said, “In the Real World Learning Program, ChiTech gives all its senior class the opportunity to spend an entire month of their final school year to obtain real workplace experience as paid interns at local organizations in Chicago. This is a rare learning opportunity to a student body made of 96 percent people of color, and whose family incomes fall at or below the poverty line”. Having a feel of what you will be working after graduation, is really cool! That will make you ready for any eventualities once you join the workforce.
In Job Corps, they call this work-based earning (WBL) where students are placed in companies related to their trade as paid or unpaid interns. What is important is that they acquire enough skills and knowledge in the industry they’re enrolled in. So, when they graduate, they already have a feel what is expected in the workforce.
That’s great because the students are given hands-on experience needed to succeed post-graduation. “Students in the program participate in website design, coding, graphic design and other real-world activities, a spokeswoman said. The program encourages students to define their interests before being assigned to a partner organization, according to a news release. For example, many of the students assigned to DDB Chicago voiced interest in developing their creative design skills, which they will put to practice by helping to produce a recruiting brochure for the school”.
In addition to giving the students advance exposure on the work they will be venturing after graduation, they are given a chance to develop business skills such commitment, independent thinking, time management, individual responsibility, and office procedures.
“This offsite learning program with the professional experience and connections it gives them, in tandem with our project-based learning curriculum and weekly guest speaker sessions that share their experiences from working in the local tech community, has allowed (students) to paint this picture in their minds, to dream bigger about what the future can hold for them post-graduation,” said Linnea Garrett, school director at ChiTech, in a statement.
Raymon Young, a senior at Chi Tech Academy, does a mock interview offsite as part of the Real World Learning program. One success story is that of 2016 graduate, Brian Jones. After he participated in the internship program last year, impressing his internship supervisors at CAN Insurance with his work dedication and attention to detail, he has since been invited and recommended for a college internship with CNA while he pursues a degree at Northeastern University.
“Project-based learning is very core to our staff’s ability to prepare our students for success post-graduation,” said TJ Pavlov, real world learning manager and social science teacher at ChiTech, in a statement. “We offer learning beyond our school walls, instead of putting subjects into separate boxes. For example, we combine math and science, or music and math. It’s a common occurrence to see a student walk the halls with a drill in hand to build (his/her) next project. Every day is a project or a presentation, because that’s what’s assigned in an actual workplace.”
All 76 of the school’s seniors have been placed this year at Chicago companies and organizations, a spokeswoman said. The four-year high school comprises about 300 students total. ChiTech was founded in 2009 with a vision of bringing technology to Chicago youth. Every student takes a technology or entrepreneurship class every day during their four years at ChiTech, and students will have more than 1,000 hours of coding experience by the time they graduate.
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