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Off the Ground & Running

Off the Ground & Running

Submitted By Rapulu Okolo | Hire KC Youth is a citywide initiative dedicated to unlocking opportunity and connecting youth to future careers in Kansas City. The mission is to improve the social and economic outcomes of the region’s youth by attracting, aligning, and investing resources in coordinated, next-generation youth workforce programs.

For the internship aspect of the program, students might be recruited/hired to primarily focus on just getting the job done. The partnership with the KC Social Innovation Center, however, gives interns opportunities learn beyond the workplace by developing more skills and connecting to other peers in the program.

Cohort Days are designed to add to and improve the internship experience. Facilitated by the KC Social Innovation Center, interns explore through workshops a range of pre-professional skills in cohorts and engage with their peers to grow collectively. This form of personal development is great for sharing discoveries, exposure, and workplace scenarios through reflection about each other’s intern experiences. Besides skills and reflection, each cohort identifies a community problem and collaborates to establish an innovative solution through a Community Impact Project. Ultimately, interns walk away with a growing professional portfolio and an emerging network of peers.

At the beginning of Cohort Day 2 (Tuesday, June 6), students who attended the first Cohort session were familiar with how the itinerary for the day would look like, so they quickly settled in. For students who were unable to attend the first Cohort session due to pre-existing arrangements, this was very new for them. New students were given the opportunity to meet their coaches for the first time and jump right in on their team project.

Learning Objectives: In between Idea Jab (more about that below!) and breakout sessions with coaches, interns developed and even gained new team working skills. Idea Jab, a brainstorming card game whose sole mission is to “help aspiring entrepreneurs generate an unlimited supply of new business ideas.” This game got us critically thinking by giving us several assignments to create business proposals in an impromptu fashion. This directly translated into our time spent with coaches. Within in our Cohort groups, we played a game that allowed no verbal communication. Our effective use of teamwork stemmed from our experience with Idea Jab, which allowed us to now incorporate nonverbal communication to our benefit.

Inspiration: Throughout the day, I was inspired by the level of critical thinking my peers possessed. During Idea Jab, teams were given two minutes to brainstorm a business proposal about a topic. In that time, several groups designed amazing projects! With other groups working hard towards a goal, I was challenged to work harder within my team to create a proposal that would be able to compete.

Overall, the day was very productive. Once ideas regarding a social issue in our community were put together in Cohort groups, us students had the opportunity to create a question to answer. As a program serving youth ages 16-24, it was very interesting to gain insight from students who were juniors in high school, but also students who were in their last stretch of undergraduate school. The display of flexibility and willingness to learn from all interns in the Hire KC Youth program is what makes it so great. Stay tuned for more updates because we are just getting started!

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