SHOW LOW — The Show Low Unified School District has partnered with ARIZONA@WORK to connect local youth to local employers. The program is called “White Mountain Works.”
White Mountain Works is described by the partners as a workforce entry initiative designed to connect high school students with employment opportunities.
The first ever orientation for White Mountain Works, “Employers Give Back”, took place last Thursday, Nov. 12. in the Show Low High School cafeteria. At least 20 business owners or entrepreneurs attended and several staff from the school. They spread out along the cafeteria benches and wore masks during the presentation.
White Mountain Works director Dr. Brian Taylor, Show Low High School Internship Coordinator Dr. Diana Abel, ARIZONA@WORK Operations Director Ms. Susan Hilgart and many other youth development professionals make up the White Mountain Works Leadership Team.
Taylor is also the director of the online, White Mountain Institute/Certified Technical Education (CTE) program which is part of the Show Low Unified School District. Taylor is a natural fit to direct White Mountain Works. He is enthusiastic about the new initiative.
“If you are an employer that wants to be involved in White Mountain Works just a little bit, we have a place for you,” said Taylor. “If you are an employer that can handle five student interns, we have a place for you.”
The starting point for this new program begins by compiling a list of employers that want to be involved. They choose from a comprehensive menu of options that suit their needs. The menu has 14 options for employers to choose from: job shadow/tour, job fair, internship (paid), internship (unpaid), apprenticeship (unpaid), part-time work, full-time work, summer employment, willing to host at-risk students, willing to host special needs students, willing to host special adjudicated students, willing to host ARIZONA@WORK students or “would like information on possible tax credit/deduction.”
White Mountain Works is already creating a database of employers to match with students. The program is structured in such a way that students can earn credits.
The program is open to all Navajo County high school students (primarily 12th-graders), recent graduates and unenrolled students up to 23 years of age. White Mountain Works invites any student who feels they are ready to learn more about the workplace and gain valuable experience while potentially earning high school credit.
“Involvement can start out simply by allowing a student to job shadow someone who works in a particular field or position,” said Taylor. “An internship is more involved, requiring at least one semester of commitment at five hours per week by the student in a content-rich environment.”
Students will be pre-screened by the program staff and will be prepared to provide a resume and interview with the employer. Codes of conduct, professionalism and all of the workplace rules and guidelines will apply to students.
“There is an entry point suitable for every business,” said Show Low High School/White Mountain Works liaison Dr. Diana Abel.
All Navajo County high school students (primarily 12th-graders), recent graduates or unenrolled students up to 23 years of ages are invited to participate in the White Mountain Works program.
White Mountain Works will be flexible enough to work with any traditional or non-traditional schools that show interest. If a teacher or student from Round Valley High School wants to be involved, the leadership team will work with them.
“I would ultimately like White Mountain Works to be a staple of the Show Low school district and the community,” said Taylor. “We’ve got your back and we want to give these kids a chance to learn.”
“It’s going to be messy at first and we will misstep and the students will misstep,” said Taylor. “But we will get past that and keep going to create something great.”
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The “Employers Give Back” orientation was the kick-off event to create awareness and participation in the program.
In January 2021, White Mountain Works will officially begin connecting students with local businesses. Students can be referred to the program through the White Mountain Institute, Show Low High School or through another school or as a walk-in. They can also be referred via an ARIZONA@WORK referral or an adjudication referral.
For more information, email: email@example.com or call White Mountain Institute and White Mountain Works director Dr. Brian Taylor at calling 928-537-6010.