A Job Is Just The Beginning
“Jobs can open the door to opportunity for young people. But they are not a golden ticket,” Quinn explains. At YouthLink, Quinn works with young people as a Career Specialist with the Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) Youth Heading Home program.
Through the Youth Heading Home program, youth are given access to a number of services designed to guide them to employment, including résumé-writing assistance, skills assessment, internship programs and job straining opportunities. These services all play their roles, but the one-on-one time youth spend with a career specialist is where the real work gets done.
“We sit down with them and talk about where they’ve been and where they want to go. We review their skills assessment and talk about what it means for their career before laying out a plan,” says Quinn.
“These young people have amazing skills. Often, even the people closest to them don’t believe they’re as capable as they are. They come to us feeling like they don’t have anything to give any job. One-on-one meetings help us build a relationship and establish trust, so youth believe us when we tell them how skilled they are. Once we are able to establish that trust, we can connect them to the right resources to help them achieve their potential.”
Annie is one of the young people who works with Quinn. When you ask Annie to tell you about his job, he immediately asks, “Which one?” Annie’s an outreach worker with YouthLink, but he’s also a Guest Experience Specialist at U.S. Bank Stadium. Even so, he doesn’t play favorites.
“I like both jobs. They have both taught me a lot: How to be courteous and respectful. That you can’t judge a book by it’s cover when you’re helping varieties of people. How to be in tune with people. With the outreach job, I use a lot of the skills I learned from my grandma. She was an outreach worker, too, and I always kind of knew I would do the same thing,” Annie says.
While both jobs help Annie build on his passion for helping people, the perks of working at the stadium allow him to explore his other passion: music.
“I get to go to the shows. The Coldplay concert last year was my favorite so far. We set the lights for the stage, so I knew the setup, and seeing it all lit up at the concert was amazing.”
Annie also echoed Quinn’s sentiments about a job being just one step along his journey. “I’ve learned to budget. To pay my bills on time. To save better. My idea of saving used to be putting cash in my sock. I was working tip jobs, so I didn’t usually have more than $20.”
“I’m an old soul, so learning some of these things was easy, but the résumé-building was hard. Quinn taught me how to make it relevant to each job. There’s a lot of things I didn’t know. And now I know how to do it,” Annie says.
“All of our services are designed to set youth up for long-term success,” says Quinn. “We could write résumés for them and help them get a job, but when we teach them how to write one for themselves, they carry that with them throughout their entire career.”
“Job retention is also important. We work on providing transportation, so the young people can get to work. Some of the training we offer is around communication in the workplace. It covers things like calling in when you’re sick—or how to work with your manager.”
The impact doesn’t stop with the young people GESMN and YouthLink serve, either.
Annie says, “I have a lot of younger siblings and I want to help them using what I’ve learned. I want to direct them to a unique career path, not the same one I’ve chosen, but one they love.”
It seems the music community will soon benefit from what Annie has learned as well. “I’m learning how to use my outreach skills to understand how music changes people. How it impacts them on an emotional level. I want to use this to make a whole new genre of music that’s about helping people deal with their emotions.”
After all, a job is a great place to start, but making the world a better place for those around us is even better.