Re-Inventing Career Pathway Planning

“I gained more confidence to speak in front of people,” said Hannah Getachew, a Loy Norrix Junior and 2021 MyCITY Kalamazoo participant. “I learned how to motivate myself to get my assignments done, preparing myself for the school year.” Hannah’s sister, Grace Getachew, had similar takeaways, noting, “MyCITY helped me realize how much architecture is needed right now, what the salary is, and other information about the job. Virtual Job Shadow was helpful because it showed me a wide variety of different careers I could do.”

Hannah and Grace pose in front of the YOU office The MyCITY Kalamazoo program was re-invented once again this past summer to keep up with the ever-changing demands of our world. While the program is designed around in-person, on-the-job paid work experience and interactions, Kalamazoo youth met the unique challenges that arose from online programming with dedication and enthusiasm.

This past summer, staff and participants engaged in over 300 hours of live, face-to-face meetings and participants logged over 1,700 hours of career planning in the Virtual Job Shadow, online career pathway planning platform.

After using the Virtual Job Shadow platform, Hannah identified some long-term career goals she wants to pursue. “My number one focus right now is school. I’ll be taking extra curriculars leading up to college and maybe will look into internships—I would like to go into 3-D Modeling or Industrial Design, where I can design objects online and then eventually turn them into real things!”

Each week of the program, participants engaged in activities related to five primary elements: career exploration, employability skills, social/emotional learning, goal setting, and a cumulative youth advocacy project—all geared toward defining participants’ career goals and sharpening the tools they will use to obtain, maintain, and advance in employment.

“I need to prepare for interviews,” Grace said, “I need to think about what I am going to say, and I learned how to search for interview questions so I can write down my possible answers ahead of time.”

To learn more about program highlights, see participants’ youth advocacy projects and work highlights, check out the interactive MyCITY Kalamazoo Final Report 2021.