Recently, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) held our fourth annual Trades Fair at the Don Fisher Clubhouse, inviting youth from across the Bay Area to learn about prospective employers and the opportunities made available by learning a trade. More than 70 Club members were present at the the event, which featured 20 representatives from trade businesses around the Bay Area.
Speaking with the event’s organizer, LaCresha McManus, BGCSF’s Citywide Director of Teen Services, she noted the importance of showing youth all of the opportunities available to them following High School. LaCresha has worked in youth development for ten years (four of them with BGCSF), and knows how opportunities like the Trades Fair can help youth make decisions about their future. “Not all of our youth are college bound at 18,” LaCresha noted. “We want to provide them some alternatives for developing themselves and their earning potential that they may not have thought of. We want to make sure that youth who might not be ready for a two or four year college know that they have options.”
Touching on the importance of the partnerships present, LaCresha said, “Our partnerships are really important to us. We want to partner our youth with trade organizations that care about them as individuals and work to actually create opportunities for the youth attending the event. Bon Appetit is a great example. Our relationship with them has grown through our Career Exposures at the San Francisco Giants ballpark, and now they’re present at our Trades Fair, providing job opportunities to youth who are ready to take the first steps in their career. Bon Appetit runs the food services for the Giants and also works with many of the Bay Area’s biggest tech companies, so they have a lot of lucrative options available for Club youth.”
Many outstanding Bay Area employers took part in the Trades Fair, including United Airlines, Blue and Gold Fleet, Bon Appetit Management Company, San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology: Paul Mitchell School, and more. Speaking with representatives from these companies, it was clear that they were excited by the potential Club members showed as prospective employees. Representing United Airlines, former Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco Citywide Youth of the Year, Carmen, offered insight on how an internship with United could develop into a full-fledged career. “We offer internships to 18 year old graduates to work in the airport and shadow different United employees on tasks to learn career skills and possibly grow into a position with United,” Carmen said. “ Some of the skills developed during the internship are customer service, problem solving, teamwork skills, and time management. The airport is a fast-paced environment, so our interns get a lot of experience thinking on their toes. Sometimes, based on how interns have performed by the end of the program, we’re able to offer them an ongoing job.”
In talking with Club members who attended the event, they shared a similar enthusiasm for learning about the career opportunities available to them. Speaking with King, age 15, a six-year member at the Willie Mays Clubhouse, he was emphatic about taking advantage of the chances offered at the Trades Fair. “I’m hoping to get a lot out of tonight’s event,” King said. “I just signed up for the Leadership in Training program at Camp Mendocino (Camp LIT). I’m trying to get working and there are a lot of options here. I want to change my life and see what I can do.” Ajahbrielle, age 17, a 12-year member of the Don Fisher Clubhouse, was motivated by the chance to develop skills that could help her in her professional life. “I’m looking for a job, and I’m interested in working at [San Francisco International Airport] and getting to meet and work with people. I am eager to learn about communications, and this seems like a great opportunity.”
Following the event, we reconnected with LaCresha, asking her about the impact an event like this has for Club members. “There’s so much impact,” LaCresha began. “Being able to give our kids options, showing them that they can pursue their goals and grow into a successful career is important. It’s also great that so many of our partners represented at the Trades Fair have BGCSF alumni at their booth. It shows the youth that come to the event that this is a real option for them. A career in a trade is a way they can have a job with real earning potential.”
If you or someone you know is interested in the Youth Workforce Development opportunities made available by BGCSF, check out our Job Readiness page. For questions concerning Youth Workforce Development, contact LaCresha McManus, Citywide Director of Teen Services, firstname.lastname@example.org.