Saturday, August 01, 2020

What's Included in Birth-to-Work?

Programs needed in every
high poverty area
I've used this graphic for many years to visualize #birthtowork support needed to help youth in every high poverty area of Chicago. It uses a map to show a wide range of places where programs are needed. It uses a "village" graphic, to show that teams with a wide range of talents and skills need to be working daily to make such programs available and help them connect to ideas and resources that enable them to constantly improve.

On the graphic I use an oil well icon to convey the idea of a growing birth-to-work programs anchored in every poverty area shown on the map. Below is another graphic that visualizes this differently.

age level support needed

The arrow and the "staircase" both signal the need to help youth move through school and into adult lives.  If you click and enlarge the graphic you'll see suggested mentoring and learning opportunities that need to be available at each grade level.

Within the horizontal arrow I list some of these:

* Reading help (elementary school level)

* Enrichment, Mentoring, Tutoring (starting in elementary school and continuing through high school)

* Job shadowing, leadership clubs (starting in middle school and continuing through high school)

* Summer Jobs, Internships, Apprenticeships (starting in high school and continuing through college)

* Jobs, career networking (starting in high school and continuing through lifetime)

Each site based program could
include many of these activities
The graphic at the left visualizes how many of these activities, including technology and STEM learning, could be part of many site-based non-school programs.  Such programs need to be available to k-12 youth in every high poverty neighborhood.

The website of a program should show that they have a strategy to involve youth and keep them involved in age-appropriate learning for many years.

If you look at the websites of Chicago area youth tutor and/or mentor programs that I include in my library, you'll find that very few show this strategy.  That may not mean they don't do it. It may mean they don't have the talent/time on their staff to communicate their strategies effectively on their websites.

strategic business support

The strategy of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, launched in 1993, was a) build a list of existing programs; b) increase public attention for each program; c) try to help programs recruit business volunteers; and d) educate these volunteers so they'd go back to their companies and networks to recruit other volunteers; so e) they could bring these needed learning opportunities to programs in more places.

For that to happen people need to be looking at these ideas, and then starting conversations within their peer group, their business group, their family and alumni networks, asking "How can we help programs in different zip codes become mentor-rich programs with a wide range of learning that helps more kids through school and into adult lives?   How can our volunteers be there to help kids as they grow through this journey and be there to help when they begin looking for jobs and/or career advice?

create learning circles
That's what this graphic represents.  Learning circles, composed of people from the same industry (tech, finance, legal, arts, etc), faith group and/or alumni group, could be meeting regularly to innovate ways to create and distribute learning opportunities that help kids aspire to jobs in their industries, or areas of expertise. They then could be doing the work of embedding these activities in programs throughout Chicago and many other places. As kids get old enough they could be providing part time jobs, internships, college and career advice, and then interviews to jobs in their companies.

During the #Covid19 pandemic these conversations need to focus on ways to create virtual learning and mentoring that reaches youth in all high poverty places, as well as ways to help programs re-open safely as the pandemic receeds.

I'm sure some of this is happening, but have had no ability to do the research and aggregate links to places where people show how they are doing this work.

Tutor/Mentor Conferences 1994-2015

Between May 1994 and May 2015 I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference every six months in Chicago. These were intended to draw program leaders and staff together to share ideas, and draw media, philanthropy, educators and business partners together to connect with program leaders. They also were part of the strategy of building media attention for Chicago tutor/mentor programs.  I've not done this since 2015 due to lack of funds and too many competing organizations who decided to "do their own thing" rather than "help build what was already in place".

web library
As we launched the Tutor/Mentor Connection and began to build a library of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs we also began to collect articles the people could use to learn ways to build better programs. We started putting this on-line in 2008 and I still maintain it, now as Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

I had support from Illinois Wesleyan University as we launched the T/MC in 1993/4 and have had interns from various universities working with me at different times through 2015.  However, I've never found a department within a university that would adopt the T/MC strategy and lead it through the university. We came close with IWU between 1993-1996, and in 2004-5, when IUPUI was interested, but while that led to rebuilding the T/MC web site in 2006, it did not result in ownership of the strategy. This "Explore Chicago"class for first-year students at DePaul is another example of a promising start that did not continue.

Create university T/MC
This graphic is one of many that I've used to invite universities to create a student-led Tutor/Mentor Connection and that might motivate a wealthy donor to provide the money needed to make this happen.

Read these articles to learn more about a Virtual Corporate Office

Read these articles to learn about university involvement

Read these articles to see invitations to billionaires in Chicago. This Tweet shows that MacKenzie Scott (Amazon.com fortune) is making major contributions to universities.  If you have her attention, please share this idea with her.


I've been sharing ideas like this for more than 25 years (on this blog since 2005).  Please share them if you're concerned about creating birth-to-work learning and career opportunities for kids in high poverty areas. Make this part of your own Black Lives Matter commitment.

I'm on social media at these places. Please connect with me. Share your ideas and strategies and let's draw more attention to work that needs to be done.

If you value the work I'm doing please consider a contribution to help fund it. Click here to find a page with a PayPal button you can use to send your support.