Q&A with Amber Davila, Business Engagement Assistant at Futures and Options
We’re excited to share Amber’s insights today at The Watercooler! Volunteering our time with Futures and Options over the years has been a highlight for our entire Team here at Clarity. Hosting Career Exploration events that have included practicing “elevator pitches” to sharpen communication skills, loading them up on interview advice, and generally getting to know these ambitious and intelligent students is very rewarding for us, and another way we get to live our values. This year, Amber and her Team (shout out to you too, Jacques!) helped us adapt to the pandemic circumstance and maintain our relationship even when we weren’t able to do so in-person. Last week we hosted an Interview Skills workshop over Zoom! The event was a great success, so we want to share the spotlight with Amber who will teach you more about the Futures and Options program and how you and your Team can get involved in this Q&A.
Communications Team: Let’s start with an overview of the Futures and Options program, and we’d love for you to tell us more about your role there.
Amber: Since 1995, Futures and Options has supported New York City’s under-resourced, ambitious youth, primarily young people of color, to explore careers through career development training and paid mentored internships. We reach out to teens at a formative time of their lives, offering them the opportunity to further their education and become contributing citizens. I joined the organization at the end of 2019 and I have loved my experience. I am a key member of our Business Engagement team. We are dedicated to partnering with businesses that are interested in making a lasting impact on our future workforce. I enjoy creating relationships with other professionals who share our passion to see our city’s youth succeed in their future career journeys.
Communications Team: Can you share some examples of specific programs you run with businesses and partners like Clarity?
Amber: Futures and Options believes that all young people deserve a chance to achieve their potential in life and a career, and that New York City needs a diverse and prepared workforce. To this end, Futures and Options partners with the business community to provide transformative work and learning opportunities to motivated young people who lack the skills, knowledge, and access needed to be prepared for and succeed in the world of work.
We work with over 300 businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout New York City. Businesses partner with us through various initiatives but our most popular is the Internship Program. Employers hire high school interns, giving our students real-world work experiences while making a lasting impact on a young person’s career development and future. Businesses also partner with us through our volunteer opportunities such as hosting career exploration field trips, volunteering at mock interview sessions, and much more! Clarity has been a long-standing career exploration field trip partner, providing our students with a snapshot into the recruiting world and sparking a few new career aspirations each year!
Communications Team: Please tell us more about the value of your corporate partners + what students gain from these experiences + relationships in the future:
Amber: By supporting our programming, businesses connect to a pipeline of diverse, promising, motivated young talent. We are proud to say that 99% of our corporate partners’ intern supervisors would recommend the program to their colleagues and would hire a Futures and Options intern again.
Thanks to thousands of hours of paid early work experience, career exploration events, professional skills training, and immeasurable one-on-one support from our intern supervisors, our programs have increased the employability of more than 10,000 young people since 1995. Our students grow in areas we believe are essential to their employability. In our more recent program cycle, 90% of our interns reported growth in professional work-readiness skills and 82% of our interns reported growth in interpersonal skills after completing the Internship Program.
Additionally, our students are achieving academic success, with over 95% graduating from high school on-time and enrolling in college.
Communications Team: How can companies or individuals get involved?
Amber: Businesses can get involved many different ways. First, you can learn about hiring a Futures and Options intern at your company. Hosting a career exploration field trip is also a great opportunity learn more about Futures and Options and our students. We offer many chances to share your talents as one of our professional volunteers. I manage all of Futures and Options volunteer projects, which include being a mock interviewer to hosting a field trip to being a mentor. We encourage employers to learn more about these opportunities to impact a young person’s career path and benefit your company at the same time. If you are interested in learning more about the ways you can get involved, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 646-880-6691.
Thank you so much for collaborating with us here, Amber! We’re looking forward to more events with you and the Futures and Options Team soon.