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Career Navigator - Somali Youth Engagement

A partnership between Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services (CMJTS), Willmar Public Schools, Community Inclusion Center (CIC), and several local employers have received a $15,000 LYFT Career Pathways Innovation award that will provide career pathway services to Somali youth in secondary schools in Kandiyohi and Renville counties.

This will be done through the hire of a part-time Somali individual. This person will make connections and establish partnerships between the school, Somali youth, Somali-owned businesses, and workforce development.

The Career Navigator Program will prepare referred students for local success by helping them identify satisfying, high-opportunity careers (those careers supported by the labor market with potential for family-sustaining wages) in their communities.

A specialized career navigator of Somali descent (a part-time employee) will assist school-identified students with vocational exploration and will advise them on the steps required to enter careers of interest. They will also help the students build workplace skills and coordinate work-based learning opportunities (paid opportunities for co-enrolled youth in CMJTS eligibility-based programs) such as internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, work experiences, etc. to give them first-hand knowledge of local jobs, employers, and industries.

All services will be tailored toward the individual needs and interests of the participating students. Services will be provided both in-person and virtually based on individual needs.

Accommodations for students with disabilities, English language learners, etc., will be made as appropriate. When students identify barriers to personal success (e.g., transportation barriers, medical/mental health barriers, etc.) the career navigator will help them connect with community resources. If they meet eligibility criteria, this may include referring them for additional employment and training services outside of the school day, leveraging the resources of other CMJTS-facilitated, youth-centered employment and training programs. CMJTS believes that, by helping students identify opportunities for local success and giving them the tools fundamental to achievement, these aspiring workers will have the opportunity to achieve career satisfaction and will become active contributors in their communities.

Ultimately, our communities and economies will be strengthened through the retention and training of local talent, whose presence will bolster the local workforce and help businesses meet their workforce needs. They will become community and economic contributors and, eventually, community and economic leaders.

For more information contact Diana Ristamaki at Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services.

  • Foundation, Knowledge, and Skills