03.29.2019 Culture & Community

The Future of Work is Looking Bright

Good News is Coming

“What would you say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

“Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem.”

“Tell me about a time something didn’t go as planned.”

Sound familiar? These classic interview questions can make the most experienced adults sweat. In the past month I have posed these questions and more to a few dozen high school and college students as part of mock interviews with Emerging Leaders, and Portland Workforce Alliance via the NW Youth Career Expo. Time after time, the students stayed cool as a cucumber:

“I would say that I get really excited about projects but then overcommit…”

“Well, last year I was working on this article in my journalism class and I couldn’t get in touch with my main source …”

“Oh I was in this group project and one of my classmates didn’t finish his part…”

Emerging Leaders’ mission is to create a new “normal” for the Greater Portland area by engaging local business leaders to provide opportunities and pathways to leadership for students of color, and we have had the privilege of participating with the Emerging Leaders Internship program the past three years (check out our past blogs about it here, here, and here). An annual Mock Interview day brings together about 200 volunteers and more than 400 students to prepare for upcoming internship interviews by working in groups and delivering real-time constructive feedback to students about their interview answers and resumes.

It was ThinkShout’s first time participating in the NW Youth Career Expo, as part of a coalition with about 20 other local tech companies under the umbrella of TechTownPDX. The Expo brings in more than 7,000 students from about 70 high schools across Oregon and Southwest Washington, giving priority registration to students from Portland Public Schools, Parkrose, and North Clackamas; high schools representing a diversity of rural, urban and suburban communities in Oregon and SW Washington; and organizations and schools serving under-represented populations of high school students - all with the goal of giving more students access to info about high paying jobs and career coaching.

Kaylan and Kevin at the career Expo

Kaylan and Kevin representing ThinkShout at the NW Youth Career Expo

I used to attend career fairs constantly in a previous life as an outside recruiter, but these events felt really special. I walked away from both feeling so much optimism about the future of our workforce. I also walked away feeling sure of three things regarding tomorrow’s teammates:

The future of work is looking real bright. Can’t wait to introduce you to our interns in a few months!

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