The lab's mission is Three-Fold:
- To engender a collaborative haven where young people are creatively motivated to communally build 21st century skills, gather relevant information, and seize opportunities to carve successful careers across industries, sectors and markets.
- To engage youth in innovative strategies for social impact within their communities and the world at large.
- To engage local communities in unearthing, polishing, and celebrating their most natural resource - Their Youth.
In an ideal world, LAB21 would be the 'innovation bedrock' of communities seeking to support youth as they transition from school to work. Like libraries, coffee shops, bookstores, parks, and movie theaters, LAB21 would be woven into a community's fabric.
LAB21 aims to be a household name amongst young people seeking innovative approaches to prepare for their careers outside of the academic environment.
Led by a cadre of 21st Century Guidance Counselors contracted to continually 'mind the gap' between academia and business, these lab stewards will also craft, coordinate and deliver authentic, experiential programs in service to youth of diverse backgrounds and interests.
· 16 to 24 Year Olds
. Lab Stewards
· Local & National Governments
· For-Profit Businesses (local and global)
· Non-Profits / Social Enterprises / Foundations
WHY LAB 21?
· Young people deserve a dedicated 'go-to' place that guides their transition from school to work -- a nurturing, pause period of observation, reflection and preparation.
· Ready, willing and able young people should be empowered as creative builders and collaborators of the future world of work.
· Preparation for the world of work can and should take place in wholly new and supplementary creative learning environments.
1. CURRICULUM & PROGRAMMING DESIGN
LAB21's hybrid programs and initiatives are the crux of its existence and rely on a guided framework developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
(Note: Please explore the hyperlink above as the information therein forms the building blocks of LAB21's programming design)
Areas of focus will include:
· Global Awareness
· Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
· Creativity and Innovation
· Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
· Communication and Collaboration
· Media & Technology Literacy
· Flexibility and Adaptability
· Initiative and Self-Direction
· Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
· Productivity and Accountability
· Leadership and Responsibility
(Although this framework is solely the development of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I was happy to find such serendipitous alignment with my own ideas and vision for LAB21.)
2. LAB STEWARDS
As 21st Century guidance counselors, lab stewards will be Social Entrepreneurs and Innovators in their own right. For the most part, they will be recruited from amongst business school graduates seeking to pave Social Impact careers (**This does not preclude other qualified individuals).
Each steward will act as the CEO/Director of a particular lab, applying a business education framework to the lab's overall mission.
The local community being served will inform the strategic approach of each steward.
(Supporting stewards will also serve the lab's mission)
3. DELIVERY OF PROGRAMS
Programs will be delivered quarterly in four distinct tiers, each of which will include:
· Classes (supplemented by website and interactive online courses)
· Career Sessions (one-on-one)
· D.I.Y Entrepreneurial Labs
· Projects in Residence
Each tier will also consist of a cohort of fellows, the size and composition of which will be determined by the location of the lab, community served, and the availability of resources.
Tier 1 Programs
Designed and delivered by LAB21 for its secondary school members.
Tier 2 Programs
Designed and delivered by LAB21 for its post-secondary school members.
Tier 3 Programs:
Designed and delivered by LAB21 for non-members of the youth community at large.
Tier 4 Programs
Tier Four Programs are those designed and delivered by external organizations in partnership with LAB21 for both members and non-members alike.
4. PHYSICAL SPACE (w/ a nod to effective design of Co-Learning/Co-Working spaces):
· Studios (for classes, workshops, meetings...)
· Digital Media & Tech Station (laptops, tablets, digital cameras, printers, creative digital tools (i.e. Adobe Creative Suite.)
· Business Library [ contemporary twist to include books, journals, magazines, articles across a range of industries / (Digital & Physical) ]
· Cafe (Sustainable products and organic foods)
· Event Space
Membership is open to 16-24 year olds who are ready, willing and able to join the LAB21 community and who demonstrate (through a short & sweet application), that LAB21 is an appropriate 'next step' in their transition from school to work.
Applications will be accepted during a given time period, requiring prospective members to complete the following:
· Personal Profile
· Personal/Professional Statement
· Creative Expression Submission (in a format of personal choice) that responds to a social impact prompt.
· Strengths Finder Assessment/Quizz (optional and offered by the lab)
6. LAB PERK
LAB21 ID Card:
Allows lab stewards to keep track of members and the progress of these members.
The lab could potentially collect profile information related to one's purpose, professional goals, skills gathered, internships and projects completed, workshops attended, etc and then visually reinterpret that info into something like Lydia Howland's "Experience Bank" where it would then live online.In the end, it wouldn't be a typical resume but rather, a unique experience profile that can be shared, updated, etc on social media sites, thereby elevating a young person's 'professional status' on his or her social media profiles.