Graduating from high school can often evoke both a sense of elation and uncertainty.
We’ve made it . . . now what?
At Boys Town, we try our best to remove that uncertainty from the equation. Our kids typically go on to college or the military or into the workforce, prepared to reach their potential – whatever that may be.
For those not on the college or military tracks, entering the workforce is the primary goal. For these students, Boys Town offers a variety of career-readiness programs that are designed specifically to give them the skills they need to get and keep a good-paying job.
For a long time, the only electives available to Boys Town students were band, chorus and JROTC. Today, via our Career Center and career-readiness program, students have the option to study a variety of real-world subjects, including:
- Sports Medicine
- Media, Communications, Journalism and Photography
- Small Engine Repair
- Intro to Trades
Not only does Boys Town offer training in these areas, we also bring in professionals from the community to speak to the students, so that they can pick the brains of those who are already working in these particular trades.
Hands-on training is part of the program, too. Depending on the course, you might see Boys Town students tearing engines apart and putting them back together, building 8’x10’ storage sheds or writing, filming and producing their senior video. After all, one can learn only so much in a classroom. And for a potential employer, real-world experience is a huge selling point for a job candidate.
Beyond simply giving these kids skills that will help give them a head start in their post-graduation job search, the career-readiness program can be a huge selling point to juvenile justice officials with regard to getting kids to stay in the Boys Town program longer. The idea being that a judge or health and human services agency official might agree to let a youth stay at Boys Town for a longer period if he or she knows that the teen will actually learn a trade and emerge ready to enter society with a marketable set of skills.
The success of this exciting program has meant that its future looks even brighter. Next year, we’re planning on adding a broadcasting component to our communications and media curriculum, in addition to a welding program. In the coming years, we’ll be seeing the addition of an auto-mechanics program, a culinary program and an “on the job training” option for students.
These programs are provided thanks to the generosity of donors all across the country, with 90 cents out of every dollar given going directly to helping at-risk youth. And if Father Flanagan were alive today, I think he’d be pretty proud of the Career Center we’ve developed. After all, his kids tended the fields of the Boys Town farm, printed its newspaper, repaired its furniture and worked many of the trades necessary to the daily operation of his “City of Little Men.”