Why Business Owners Should Sign Up for the Bastrop ISD Mentoring Program Today
7 Nov 2022
Workforce shortages are top-of-mind for employers. Nationwide, there are more than 11 million job openings yet only 6 million unemployed workers. The importance of guiding youth in their career development has never been more critical, both for individual happiness and satisfaction and for the economy. Bastrop Independent School District recognizes this with its Work Based Learning Opportunities and Career Mentor Program.
Positive mentoring relationships allow young people to explore various career options, develop their skills, and stay academically engaged as they prepare for a career. Students develop the soft skills employers seek, including initiative, time management, and communication skills.
Dr. Steven Henn, PTECH and Work Based Learning Coordinator for Bastrop ISD, enumerated the ways students benefit, “One, they develop critical communication skills and self-confidence. Two, they gain greater clarity about what they want to do after high school and what they need to do to achieve that. Three, they begin a new networking relationship with a professional who cares and is willing to support their future success.”
Mentors set the stage for lifelong success by providing guidance, support, access to resources, and encouragement that effectively build a young person's positive social-emotional and cognitive identity. However, the relationship is mutually beneficial. “Mentors benefit in multiple ways as well,” said Dr. Henn. “They see growth in a young person as a result of their time and effort, gain insights about the rising generation of workers, and support their own industry by helping to develop a future worker.”
“The Career Mentoring initiative has been in place since the spring of 2021,” said Dr. Henn. “In our first three rounds of mentoring, we have had about 100 students mentored. This fall, we anticipate 50 student/mentor pairs.”
“The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (EDC) provides marketing and outreach support for this program,” said Dr. Henn. “The EDC's stalwart commitment to education as a key pillar of community development gives members the confidence that programs like this one are well worth the investment, both now and in the future.”
The fall mentoring session is underway, and now is the perfect time to sign up for the spring session, which runs from January through March. Commitment is for one 45-minute in-person or virtual session per week for six or 12 weeks. Mentors follow a guided program provided by Bastrop ISD that supports skills development, career awareness, and future planning.
“Mentors can sign up anytime,” said Dr. Henn. “The application found at bisdtx.org/careermentor is always open and receiving responses. Additionally, Bastrop ISD is always open to creating new opportunities for partnership with members of the Bastrop area business community. There are a handful of current opportunities that we offer at bisdtx.org/workbasedlearning. There is also an option to sign up for more information there. And if something isn't showing up on that page, we welcome a business to offer an innovative idea for partnership.”
Dr. Henn shared a couple of success stories. “There are two stories I love to tell. Two or three months after a career mentoring session ended, one of our mentors changed jobs, and in their new job, they saw a great opportunity for their former mentee. So, they reached out and were able to introduce their former mentee to an opportunity that the mentee would never have known about.”
“For the second story, one of our mentors owned her own business and learned that her mentee was helping his dad with his own business, so the mentor coached the mentee on how to build a website for their family business. The key in both of these stories is that mentors found unexpected ways to use their talent and experience for the benefit of their mentees, and the mentees are ready and hungry for that support.”
“Developing a relationship with a mentor is one of the most powerful ways for a young person to improve their life prospects,” continued Dr. Henn. “Research and history are both clear on this “Bastrop ISD aims to think creatively about how we can most effectively improve the outcomes for our students while they are with us and well into their futures. We think this mentoring program is a key to these efforts.”
In addition to 1:1 mentoring, Bastrop ISD Work Based Learning Opportunities include:
- Job Shadow Day is a one-day commitment for 2–4 hours at your place of work, hosting students interested in careers in related industries. Bastrop ISD will work with interested businesses to determine group sizes and timing.
- Internships are currently scheduled for the summer as experiences where students get authentic exposure to high-quality work environments. In 2022, Bastrop ISD provided both liability insurance and funding to support up to 100 percent of student hourly pay. Check out the flyer for this program and register as an internship host at bit.ly/bisdintern.
- Guest speaking opportunities are available for professionals to visit campuses to speak in classrooms or to larger groups about the industry they work in.
- Youth Career Day is held annually in the spring. This event brings together members from across the business community to build bridges and awareness with students of all ages.
Take charge of your workforce development and make a difference in a student's life today by filling out the Bastrop ISD Business Partner Interest Form!
Ideally located in the heart of the Texas Triangle, Bastrop has easy access to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas/Fort Worth and is more affordable. It’s a place with room to grow and a history of innovation. To find out how Bastrop is perfect for your business relocation or expansion, contact Bastrop Economic Development Corporation at (512) 303-9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.