“At first ... I didn't think I was smart enough, that I didn’t have the brains for it, but ... now I think I could do anything when I put my mind to it.” -- Arina, 16, a junior at East High School in Des Moines. Arina is one of 30 students participating in this summer’s Career Pathways program at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa.
The program is designed with a two-pronged approach in mind. First, it gives students, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, exposure to various career paths at an early age to help them see what kinds of jobs they may like and what career they might be best suited for. Second, the program helps employers plant the seed and begin developing the next generation of employees early on to fill jobs that are in demand. This summer’s program is focused on manufacturing and construction, with classes scheduled on alternating days of the week. As this year’s program enters its final weeks, students are busy building a shed to store athletic equipment and making a bench for Blank Park Zoo.
Other experiences, including in health care, are provided during the school year.
“I like how it has given me experiences for life,” said Arina, whose last name is withheld for privacy reasons. “Without the Boys & Girls Club, I really don’t know where I would be right now.” Arina, who simply refers to the Boys & Girls Club as “the Club,” said the opportunities she’s been afforded through the Career Pathways program have given her the confidence she needs as she pursues a career in medicine. Arina wants to be a physician and is beginning to look at colleges. While she is open to the possibilities, she is leaning toward attending the University of Northern Iowa. The Career Pathways program “has helped me so I wont’ be so indecisive,” Arina said. “I know what I want to do, so all I have to do is prepare for the classes I want to take in college. I won’t be so unsure.”
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