CAMDEN, N.J. — With competition fierce in the youth job market — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth labor force participation rate is at a 9-year high at 61.8 percent as of July 2019 — it’s important for employment seekers to have an advantage over other applicants.
TD Bank and Junior Achievement have teamed up to help students polish their approach and refine those resumes.
Twenty volunteers from TD Bank met with 30 students at Camden Academy Charter High School, a part of Camden’s Charter School Network, on Wednesday, September 11, to teach soft skills including workplace communication, resume writing, and job interview skills.
“TD Bank has been volunteering with Junior Achievement in Camden elementary schools for several years,” Christy Tighe, Director of College & Career Readiness for Junior Achievement New Jersey, said. “This was a natural progression to make an impact at the high school level. The TD team wanted to use their time and professional skills to give back to their community, and we’re so glad we could expand on this partnership and make it happen.”
During the program students rotated through the different sessions with TD Bank volunteers teaching 10th grade students how to make their applications stand out among the crowd among other workplace skills.
“Because the TD Bank volunteers have professional backgrounds in human resources, the students were able to gain valuable information on how to write a resume, fill out a job application, and learned tips and tricks on how to ace a job interview,” Tighe said.
Dara Ash, Camden Academy Charter High School Principal, said that she was impressed by the realistic view the TD Bank volunteers gave the students.
“I walked into one group where a volunteer was telling a story about someone who showed up to an interview wearing sneakers, and how she cut the interview short because she knew that wasn’t someone she’d want to hire,” Ash said.
Camden Academy Charter High School sophomore Ananda Miranda said she enjoyed learning skills she’ll need to get a job.
“The volunteers taught us how to prepare for interviews like how to dress and how to talk,” Miranda said. “I liked it a lot. I know now that when I fill out an application for a job, I’m prepared.”
Along with sharing their own experiences with the students, the volunteers follow a curriculum created by Junior Achievement that focuses on soft skills that include workplace communication like tone of voice, professional speech, and topics to avoid at work. They also cover topics such as cell phone use in the workplace; the basics of manners, etiquette, and proper workplace behavior; and the basics of why grammar, punctuation, and using appropriate language in workplace writing.
The students, though, are not the only ones who benefit from such a program.
“When employees volunteer as a team, it gives them the chance to connect and find commonalities,” Tighe said. “This can, in turn, improve communication in the workplace and enhance the overall company culture and boost morale.”
Junior Achievement also believes that career readiness is not only the key to the future success of students, but the state’s economy as well.
According to Tighe, Junior Achievement will reach 84,000 New Jersey students this year through programs on career readiness and money management with the help of corporate partners, community volunteers, as well as schools, educators, and students.
“We’re proud to be a recognized solution provider that meets academic standards and graduation requirements at no cost to schools and students’ families, and we take great pride in preparing tomorrow’s workforce to be 100% ready to ensure our state’s economic success,” Tighe said.
“Our volunteers know that the time they spend with a student, encouraging them to dream big and reach their full potential, truly makes a difference,” she added.