Hi! My name is Ryan Sermon, and I am an AmeriCorps State member serving with the Tucson Urban League. In my role as a Career Development Specialist, I work with students enrolled at Palo Verde and Santa Rita high schools and individuals receiving services from the Youth Employment One-Stop Center. The Tucson Urban League is also part of the Tucson Community Schools Initiative, which is a collaborative effort between the Tucson Mayor’s Office and Arizona Serve with the main goal of increasing workforce knowledge and readiness for youth. During one-on-one sessions, we discuss various opportunities for accomplishing their long-term goals. Workshops are facilitated on a range of career development issues, professional branding, interviewing, employability skills, job search strategies, networking, resume and letter writing.
High school students, also known as Generation Z – the newest cohort to enter higher education and the workforce, are more interested in owning a business one day and just as many hope to turn their hobbies into full-time jobs. Once students enter college, they are often unsure of what to declare as their major and as a result end up changing their program of study on average three to five times throughout their undergraduate career. To prevent confusion, especially amongst juniors and seniors, I utilize the Holland Code to help them discover and affirm their interests and skills to match a career. Dr. Holland created a system for identifying traits and grouping careers into six different categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Career clusters, pathways and college majors can be classified into these personality types identified by Dr. Holland.
With my remaining service time, my goal is to meet with all high school sophomores, juniors and seniors at both Palo Verde and Santa Rita high schools and develop a preliminary plan of action for each student so they feel empowered with the tools necessary to seek job-shadowing opportunities. Once the school year ends, I will focus all of my attention to working with those enrolled in the ARIZONA@WORK Pima County One-Stop Youth Employment Center’s Summer Youth Program.
By Ryan Sermon