The Success of Summer R.I.S.E.
“Connecting Kids to Careers” was the goal for the inaugural year of the Summer R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience) program and we’re proud to report that’s exactly what we did! In today’s ever-changing economy it is important that young people understand the connection between their education and potential career pathways, and that employers can continue to have access to a highly trained workforce.
To help make this connection, in January of 2017, WorkSource Montgomery in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, set out to create a career development program that exposed our bright and talented youth to the world of work. With the help of our generous partners in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, we were able to provide career shadowing opportunities to more than 350 rising juniors and seniors from across the County.
Hosting organizations, which we called Career Experience Hosts, represented a diverse pool of industries from hospitality to veterinary services and healthcare. All career hosts were encouraged to expose students to the Summer R.I.S.E. program objectives which included understanding:
- the structure of their business and larger industry;
- the significance of professionalism,
- the ways customer service manifests within differing industries; and
- the role of technology plays in organizational operations.
We were proud to partner with the Departments of Recreation and Transportation to provide Ride-On bus passes to all students. In addition to transportation assistance, we partnered with A Wider Circle to provide professional clothing assistance to students.
Thanks to the cross-sector support of nonprofits, county government and the private sector, Summer R.I.S.E. proved to be a true testament of our county’s dedication to collaborative efforts and a shining example of what can happen when we make investments in our county’s best resource – its future talent!
Hear a student perspective from our very own intern Michelle Chambers:
When I walked into the office of my career experience host, I had no idea what I wanted to do or what career pathway I wanted to take. I learned quickly that keeping myself in my shell was not helping whatsoever and that in order to actually learn from this experience, I needed to start with a positive attitude towards everything I do. I realized that what I present to others about myself, the impression I make, will help me make connections that can open opportunities in the long run.
One of the most important lessons I learned: Once you choose your profession, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it for the rest of your career. You can always explore various options. It doesn’t matter how far-fetched, as long as you enjoy what you do, you’re the real winner. People who are only in the job for money aren’t always happy.
I was inspired after conversations with my hosts and hearing their stories. The CEO of WorkSource Montgomery, Ellie Gilles, was a teacher for 37 years and she switched from teaching to working in this industry not only because she had the drive, but she also did everything in her power to succeed. There was also the director of business solutions, who started in the U.S. Army, and then was involved in workforce development in Prince George’s Community College, and has now transitioned to WorkSource.
David Buonora, the chief of staff, has had so many jobs not only because he was capable, but also because of his connections and he made good impressions along the way. The connections you make are important and even if you meet someone only once, you have the opportunity to leave an impression they may never forget.
Through this experience I gained a lot of insight and I know it will help me or any student participating in this program moving forward. My experiences in the working world was limited to my mother’s profession, so just being a part of this program has been helpful for me to understand why people choose their careers and what helped them make it to this point. It has given me direction on choosing my own path. It has also helped teach me what to do in order to get where I want to be in life. I’m a rising junior so I will absolutely like to be back next year to be a part of this experience again.
Take a look at some of our exciting media coverage!
Washington Post Feature
WJLA Education Feature
Summer R.I.S.E. is supported by:
Montgomery County Public Schools
Montgomery County Government
Clark Construction Group, LLC
Quality Biological, Inc.
Educational Systems Federal Credit Union
Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services
The Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission
Asbury Communities, Inc.
Lerch, Early & Brewer
The Virtual Window
Smokey Glen Farm
The Universities at Shady Grove
Montgomery County Collaboration Council
Montgomery County Department of Recreation
A Wider Circle