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I should explain: I do not condone typos, but I do love wordplay. And thinking out of the box. And steak.
I grew up in Baltimore, studied history and consumer psychology at Penn, and worked in advertising in New York, acting as a project manager, client relationship builder, timeline master, and unofficial technical proofreader (never a ® out of line).
Then I veered off the path to work in the social sector—specifically, youth empowerment and public health in South Africa. There, I developed marketing and communications for a nonprofit that uses peer role models to inspire healthy behavioral change. The innovative approach? Soccer as a means to engage youth to prevent the spread of HIV. The idea of using creative and unexpected approaches to serve a higher social need got me hooked.
This is a great approach and I love the tone of the website; it really shows a lot of respect to the target audience--especially when so many of those young people are hearing lots of very strong opinions about college-to-career paths. It's telling young people that you can still be sharp, innovative, and confident in starting your career, that finding a job straight out of high school doesn't have to be anything "less."
And I love the mindset of looking at the end goal rather than the first step in the career path; it really changes the frame of reference away from "where can I get a job right now" and positions the job seeker to be thoughtful about that first entry-level job and where it can realistically lead them.
One of tricky aspects of the job search is understanding the language in the job description: what the titles really mean (Associate vs Assistant vs. Apprentice), sifting through the buzz words, and differentiating between the hard skills required and the skills that seem to show up on every job description. And identifying those skills in yourself. With someone who recently left high school as the end user, it may be helpful to consider key words and skills that may not be immediately obvious as job skills. As an exaggerated example: someone who enjoyed chemistry lab in school may assume they'll never get to create chemical reactions if they don't go to college, but those skills could be used in other jobs: there's chemistry in cooking, or in mixing cement. A job seeker could check boxes for their interests and skills, and potential job opportunities that use those skills could be served up in a search.
You may already have some kind of key words and interests check-boxes on the platform--I explored your website but couldn't see how the process itself works without registering first. You mentioned you've been distributing the platform through schools, community employment agencies, and online. Is there an online example of a user's job search process, either as an infographic or video? That would be a great resource for people who find Raise Your Flag independently and are curious to learn more, support, or consider getting involved as an employer or advocate of the platform.
This is a really cool idea, and one that I think could have a very powerful impact on the unemployed youth who become involved--as well as many cafe patrons who become inspired by the program when they get their morning coffee! I like how the youth employees would gain exposure to a wide variety of aspects of the business, opening their eyes to areas of potential professional interests.
In order to make that exposure truly meaningful, I think it would be important to have a committed staff of people with solid real-world business experience as well as the passion to mentor. Having a strong infrastructure to the business itself would enable the youth get meaningful education in those areas, and it would ensure that the business elements of the cafe would be sustainable and effective.