What we learned, how we learned it and the enjoyment of it all.

1024 678 Ellen Ensher
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By Riley Dawson, Jessica Fong, Hayden Tanabe and Alexis Straiten.

As a class, we were given the opportunity to choose an external client to work with, so that we may apply the training skills we learned in class to the real world. The client we chose was Verbum Dei High School, that supports underprivileged young men on a rigorous college prep track, complimented by a corporate work study program. As a group, we designed a training workshop for Verbum Dei to help prepare their incoming freshman for their entry into the corporate world as interns.
Take a moment and envision yourself as an incoming freshman. You are excited, fearful of the unknown, and most importantly you are anxious to start not just high school but most likely your first job. To prepare ourselves for the task ahead, we took the time to think about everything an incoming freshman would be thinking emotionally and inquiring when stepping into such a difficult role. In order to help them acclimate to their new roles, we conducted multiple needs assessments from questionnaires to key consolations to better understand the current students and their placements. Overall, we directed three needs assessments, the first was existing reports and records which we collected on our first site visit. When we first visited Verbum Dei High School we gathered information they had previously collected about their current students. This information was a concrete rubric of ten behaviors that each student is evaluated on when looking at their success in each of their placement. The next needs assessment was a key consultation with Cristina Cuellar, the Director of Corporate Work Study Program at Verbum Dei High School. We were able to gain more insight into the administrative perspective as well as understand how this program came about and how it continues to be so successful. Our final needs assessment focused more on getting to know the students. We conducted a questionnaire that reflected three behaviors, we wanted to further develop, from the rubric of ten behaviors the students are evaluated on from their placement. With this we proposed six new questions, to students, in order to learn more about their work efficiency. Judgement and initiative in the workplace.
When designing our workshop, we focused on the three behaviors that students needed to improve on, judgement, initiative and work efficiency. We divided the three behaviors with three different activities. For judgement, we made three different case studies, initiative was performed through role playing scenarios, but work efficiency was more hands on by making an action plan from a new case study. What worked well were for our design was having every behavior paired with an activity. It made it more engaging for an income freshman that needs to learn the material but has that nervous energy and needs to place it somewhere.
The moments leading up to our presentation were fun and memorable but not always the easiest. Something that made this workshop worthwhile was the mission and vision of Verbum Dei. Every day we worked on this project we understood, we were doing this to help improve the lives of young men. They wanted a better future and we were to play a part in helping them obtain and keep that future, and it all started in their intern placements. That was the most enjoyable part for us, a mission and vision to see the future success of young men. A key challenge we had along the way, was choosing activities that would engage these young teens. We had to incorporate the soft skills they learn on the job with something fun and interesting that would make them want to learn the important material. We made case studies and role playing scenarios, which were challenges by themselves but in the end, they were effective.
Through this project, we learned what I was like to have a client. We learned the importance of communication between the team and the client and to always understand their needs. Working with Verbum Dei High School has also taught our team how to work with different age groups. We were accustomed to training or collaborating with college students that we forget how to work with students younger than us or adults out of college. It helped us gain new skills on how to build a rapport with a diverse generation pool. In all, we had fun we learned quite a bit and gained so much from our client work shop. Would we do it again? I think yes.