Teen Workforce Readiness Programming hones the professional, leadership, and wilderness skills of participating teens, while promoting the importance of hiring diverse staff. As paid cityWILD employees and volunteers, participating teens serve as outdoor educators, leaders, and guides, also leading commercial trips through cityWILD’s Ventures. Ventures is cityWILD’s unique income generating business that provides river rafting and outdoor adventure experiences to other nonprofits and youth agencies, as well as the general public, promoting environmental awareness and building outdoor leadership skills for their staff and youth.
Youth are selected for the program based on their demonstrated leadership and longevity with cityWILD, and their ability to model positive behavior to younger students. These coveted positions are held to high standards and often allow students a “first paid work experience,” while providing a positive and educational place to build their employment capacity. In addition to promoting workforce readiness, this program also emphasizes:
- Financial Literacy, providing financial literacy education, Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s), which provide dollar for dollar matching up for the savings students deposit into a special account, towards a stated financial goal, and opportunities to build their entrepreneurial skills
- Leadership, students participate weekly in activities to develop leadership skills and offer support for their employment experience, teaching the importance of role modeling and decision making skills
- Service Learning, students identify and address local environmental issues and educate their peers and general public, role modeling good citizenship and “giving back to the environment”
- Academic Assistance, for students, most of whom attend low performing schools and often do not receive sufficient attention in their classroom or at home, with quiet, uninterrupted time with adult staff and volunteers.