Mission: Graduate is an innovative, collaborative and unique educational effort to increase college graduation rates in Central New Mexico. It guides the next generation of youth in the right direction by getting the community to embrace the same goal. More than 300 community partners have agreed to support initiatives that encourage success in early childhood all the way to young adulthood. The ultimate goal? 60,000 new college degrees and certificates by the year 2020 in central New Mexico. But that’s not all.
Mission: Graduate is also looking past graduation and focusing on employment. Its latest strategy to prepare kids for real world professionalism is geared towards teenagers as they approach the workforce for the first time. A new web-based application they call LauchMeABQ works almost as a teen-friendly LinkedIn. It works by connecting youth users with potential employers, and helping kids assess and build upon their existing skill sets.
Enter Angelo Gonzales, Executive Director for Mission: Graduate and Selena Hardy, one of the many team members on the project. Angelo describes it this way: “The web app is a career exploration platform for high school students that combines the traditional tool of a resume builder with an online podium that is much more intimate.” Not only does the web app help students demonstrate their creativity, personality, and varied talents, it also provides a series of interactive activities to take part in that foster new professional relationships--necessary in today’s competitive workforce.
Angelo, Selena, and the rest of the Mission: Graduate team understand professionalism isn’t something one necessarily picks up, rather it is attained through experiences, one after the other. Thus, with the tool that can help young adults highlight their strong suits and improve upon their less proficient areas, kids can obtain imperative insight as to what it means to demonstrate workplace competence.
While LaunchMeABQ is gaining more and more traffic every day, the creators of the web app are working hard to collaborate with local employers to use the platform to hire students whom they deem valuable. Ultimately, this makes program participants more successful and the entire workforce stronger.
By Merritt Blankenau