Exposure to the professional world is an invaluable component to a youth’s success. At BGCSF, we work to show our kids what can be accomplished through a commitment to responsibility and professionalism. It’s important that kids know their dream jobs as doctors, pilots, chefs, or any other career path are not meant for “other” kids. It’s something they can accomplish as well.
This summer, BGCSF hosted 20 Career Exposure events, with members from each of our eight San Francisco Clubhouses participating. Among the destinations our kids visited were Microsoft, LinkedIn, PwC, Tesla, United Airlines, and Bon Appetit Management Company at Oracle Park. Club youth even got to tour San Francisco’s new home of the Golden State Warriors, the Chase Center, thanks to a Career Exposure with Clark Construction.
These Career Exposure events help our kids develop a positive view of their professional future through in-person experience. Career Exposures provide middle school and high school members with a unique opportunity to see workplaces in action by visiting local companies that expose them to new careers in the Bay Area’s fastest growing industries. Career Exposure events typically consist of a tour, a career panel, and an opportunity for teens to participate in hands-on activities that mirror the work of professionals at the job site.
Speaking with LaCresha McManus, BGCSF’s Citywide Director of Teen Services, she emphasized the way that meeting professionals with similar backgrounds to their own helps Club youth in their professional development. “When we set up these Career Exposures,” LaCresha said. “We try to map it out so we’re giving our kids exposure to a wide-variety of industries in the City and introducing them to people at those companies who have backgrounds they can relate to. Kids can have a hard time connecting with just anyone, but when the person they’re meeting is an SF native or a former Club kid themselves, that lightbulb goes off and our kids start thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I can do this, too."
A Club kid herself, LaCresha understands youth perspective and puts that knowledge to use, working with corporate partners to ensure each Career Exposure demonstrates the goal setting, decision-making, and discipline required to succeed.
Career Exposures can often be eye-opening for Club teens, making them aware of how many different people and roles make up a professional setting. One example is this summer’s trip to Oracle Park, where Club youth toured The Garden thanks to Bon Appetit Management Company. Bon Appetit provides gourmet food throughout Oracle Park, including at their 4,320-square-foot edible garden that grows more than 40 fruits, vegetables, greens and flowers. Kids who went to The Garden at Oracle Park learned how many different roles are required to have fresh food in a ballpark. They met with chefs, gardeners, and farmers who all work for Bon Appetit, gaining perspective on the way teamwork and collaboration help a successful professional environment function.
When asked about their experience during this summer’s Career Exposures, participating youth were eager to discuss what they learned. 11-year Willie Mays Clubhouse member Erica, age 17, spoke about her experience at the Tesla manufacturing plant in Fremont. “I liked the Tesla tour because of the positive effect the cars have on the environment,” Erica began. “I found it very cool that we were in the only Tesla factory in the country and that they only manufacture a car when it is ordered.”
Talking about his visit to the under-construction Chase Center, nine-year Tenderloin Clubhouse member Kenny, age 17, found interest in the unique opportunity. “It was a wonderful experience to get to tour the Chase Center from the builder’s perspective,” Kenny said. “It was nice being able to get a behind-the-scenes view of what it’s like to build a state-of-the-art arena and managing all of the moving pieces, especially because I’m a huge Golden State Warriors fan.”
BGCSF offers a wealth of programs to help teens develop their professional skills and gain exposure to the workforce. To learn more about our professional offerings, visit our Job Readiness page. For inquiries about future Career Exposure events, contact LaCresha McManus, Citywide Director of Teen Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.