A TRAINING TOOL FOR THE JOB DEVELOPER TO SHARE WITH CLIENTS TO ASSIST THEM IN SECURING EMPLOYMENT
Online Mentoring Program Works
ow can students prepare
lum with projects and activities
to enter an increasingly to guide communication and
competitive workforce? “The E-Mentoring pro- encourage skill assessment, goal
How can businesspersons share
their experience with youths
gram is a modification setting, tolerance for differences,
and the use of community
without compromising their busy of traditional mentor- resources.
schedules? How can youths who One particular activity
are at risk of dropping out of ing, utilizing computer requires the student and E-
high school be motivated to
remain in school? One answer is
technology to connect Mentor to share some personal
characteristics and work-related
E-Mentoring, a high-tech collab- adult role models to values and examine how these
oration between email and men- might fit into a particular work
toring. at-risk youth.” environment. Upon completing
Peckham, Inc., developed the the exercise, one student said,
E-Mentoring program in partnership with “[My E-Mentor] was helping me think of things
Michigan Rehabilitative Services and the Ingham to share about myself, and we couldn’t stop
Intermediate School District, as a component of laughing! It was really a hard activity because it
the LINKS program. made me do a lot of thinking. But I really had a
Through the LINKS program, each student lot of fun doing it!”
selected undertakes a vocational assessment, cre- E-Mentors have offered advice, consolation,
ates an action plan, performs career research on and encouragement as the students post messages
his or her chosen goal, and participates in job dealing not only with vocational interests, but
shadowing experiences that correspond to his or also related personal issues such as family
her career interests. E-Mentoring continues the relationships, dating, and violence in school.
link between school and career by partnering stu- Serving the high schools in Ingham County,
dents with an E-Mentor, someone who enjoys E-Mentoring provides services to a diverse group
teaching, coaching, and being a role model and is of participating students. E-Mentoring students
a professional in his or her career field of interest. come from rural and urban areas, and large and
The E-Mentoring program is a modification of small schools and possess career interests that
traditional mentoring, utilizing computer technol- span the spectrum from technology to medical
ogy to connect adult role models to at-risk youth. to construction.
Through E-Mentoring, the student and the mentor E-Mentors are all community businesspersons
enter an online correspondence in which the stu- and are recruited through local service clubs,
dent posts messages based on different vocation- business organizations, and word of mouth.
ally related projects, and the mentor responds E-Mentors include government agency directors,
with advice and resources. E-Mentors and financial officers, physicians, and skilled trade
students communicate via a secure Web portal professionals from local construction and manu-
developed by Peckham that ensures anonymity facturing companies. The diverse range of
and security. Peckham’s E-Mentor specialist mon- E-Mentors reflects the variety of interest areas of
itors the website to ensure the appropriateness of the participating students.
the postings and to provide help and support for
students and mentors. Program is Working
Since the inception of the program, almost 50
Projects and Activities students have shared educational and professional
To supplement the personal connections and goals, questions, and interests with a caring adult.
information between mentors and students, Program results show that students who complete
Peckham also created a research-based curricu- the program stay on track to graduate. Peckham’s
August 2010 JTPR Training Tool-Kit 1
E-Mentor specialist continually reviews participa- Learning how to deal with the pressure of
tion, and new activities are added based on being different and not letting others make him
student and E-Mentor feedback. The LINKS feel uncomfortable has prepared David for some
program currently has a participation rate of of the issues that will come up as he seeks to
93%, and several students are exceeding program create his ideal salon.
participation requirements. David describes his dream place of business:
Most important, 78% of the students who have “I do have a desire to own my own salon, but it
completed the program are either still in school or wouldn’t just be a salon,” he said. “It would be
have graduated from high school six months after like a miniature mall almost. It would contain
program completion. This is a huge accomplish- food, clothes, shoes, jewelry, music, and a dance
ment for students previously identified as at risk floor. Then in the back would be the ‘paradise’
for dropping out of school. part of it, the salon. I don’t want it to be just
an ordinary salon. I want it to be somewhere
Success Story young teens can come and hang out and
Today’s high school students are faced with a express themselves.”
lot of choices and have shown great promise
when offered guidance. One of the graduating
The benefit of E-Mentoring is clear in David’s
seniors in the E-Mentoring program is a young story, as well as the individual stories of all
man named David (name changed for privacy). students who participated in the program. One of
David expressed an interest in fashion and hair the graduating seniors is enrolled in college and
design and was matched with a mentor who spe- has had extensive dialogue with his E-Mentor
cialized in retail sales and business management. concerning freshmen issues, including room-
David and his mentor established a great rela- mates, study habits, and making new friends.
tionship on the website, which led to the sharing Another senior is joining the workforce and plans
of valuable information concerning David’s to work and go to school at the same time. Her
future plans and what he could expect in his areas E-Mentor has provided advice on time manage-
of interest. ment and goal setting.
Not only was David able to get great informa-
tion about the field of personal care, but he also Summary
was able to share with his E-Mentor some of the The strength of any community can be mea-
challenges he has faced by being an openly gay sured in how well it prepares its young people to
student in high school. make the transition from student to worker.
Due to some of the social pressure that he had Peckham’s E-Mentoring program has proven that
faced, David contemplated quitting school. With it can be a successful tool in the development of
the encouragement of his E-Mentor and other car- our future workforce. For more information about
ing adults in his life, David decided to stay in the E-Mentoring Program, contact Ann Paruch at
school — and later graduated from high school. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Reprinted with permission of Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), “Promising Practices”
series. For more information, visit www.carf.org.
Mentoring Works, but it’s Not a Cure-all!
on-parent adults who mentor youths often Mentors who are “results-oriented” and have
N serve as crucial educators and support fig-
ures, promoting learning and competence,
enhancing self-esteem, and helping youth realize
behavioral goals for youth, are less successful
than “process-oriented” mentors who want to
build trust and become a friend and confidant of
their full potential. The following are several a youth.
strategies associated with successful mentoring: The most successful mentor-youth relation-
ships exist for at least a year — with meetings
Mentors and youth should be matched on that last at least an hour each week. The mentor
the basis of shared interests, and youth, mentor, should always assume that he or she will initiate
and family preference. There is no perfect method contact, because the youth is not likely to initiate
to matching a mentor and youth, but the age, gen- contact on his/her own.
der, and education of the volunteer is not as
important as his/her outlook on mentoring. Source: University of Illinois-Chicago.
2 JTPR Training Tool-Kit August 2010