A Year-Long, Life-Skills Workshop for Under-served Atlanta Students
While the number of STEM jobs, careers, and degrees granted continue to increase, the gender and racial gaps in the sector continue to widen.
The JumpStart! initiative aims to increase the number of underserved students interested in STEM fields. Over the course of a year, a small group of high school juniors and seniors will explore career options, develop interpersonal skills, and prepare for future educational opportunities. The JumpStart! curriculum is spread out over 11 sessions, each carefully designed to prepare them for future STEM success and to help close the STEM achievement gap in Georgia. The pilot JumpStart! initiative is funded by The Verizon Foundation, and it will soon expand into four metropolitan Atlanta schools through a fund from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions
The JumpStart! program begins the second semester of students’ junior years, and then continues through the first semester of their senior year. During the second semester of junior year, JumpStart! aims to prepare students for summer internship opportunities, aiding with their interview skills, application writing, and relationship building. Following completion of a five-week summer internship, students spend their senior year engaging in college preparation and STEM career workshops. Each of the 11 JumpStart! sessions last approximately two hours.
JumpStart! is broken into four distinct sections led by industry professionals, each targeting a specific area of personal and/or professional development:
- The Brainstorm: identifying student skills and interests; crafting a personal college and career plan; honing communication skills.
- The Network: developing “knock ‘em dead” interview skills, creating strong applications, and building students’ brands.
- The Workzone: touring technology and business companies, participating in one-on-one mentorship, and obtaining a paid summer internship opportunity.
- The Wire: participating in coding camps and technology challenges, researching scholarship opportunities
As an example, the second lesson in “The Brainstorm” covers personal branding. Students worked on a module to develop their own elevator pitches, and practiced delivering the pitches in pairs with their peers. Following, students were given the challenge to incorporate their own “Success Stories,” using the STAR (situation/ task/ action/ result) model, for interview preparation. Armed with both elevator pitches and STAR situations, students then “networked” around the room with professionals from the community, receiving constructive feedback on both their strong and weak areas.
JumpStart! is currently a pilot program, limited to one school in the Atlanta area. Please contact Michael Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more about the JumpStart! program and how it can be adapted to your school.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
Contact Heather Maxfield
JumpStart! is TAG-Ed’s newest initiative, launching Spring 2016. See the results from our inaugural class: