Daily Video

January 2, 2013

Jobs Motivate Kids to Stay in School

When you peek into a lab conducting neurological research, perhaps the last thing you expect to find is a teenager running the experiments. However, Daniel Rodriguez, a high school senior in Boston, has been doing just that, working alongside real doctors and researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

It is all part of the Student Success Job Program which pairs local teenagers with jobs and mentors in career fields like medicine. It’s part of a larger effort, says Wanda McClain, the Hospital’s Program manager, “to try to help young people see that being in a school, there’s a direct relationship to being successful in school and being successful in your life and in your career.”

The program was originally intended to give young students, primarily of minority backgrounds, meaningful work experiences in the healthcare industry. However, it has also had the added effect of successfully keeping kids in school. Out of all the program participants, 97 percent of them go on to college.

The Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) is responsible for linking students like Daniel with their mentors and jobs. Every year, the PIC lands positions for about 3,000 Boston students.

“It’s an economic imperative, because we are not employing young people in this country. They are not developing the habits of paid work necessary to be productive. They are not imagining the careers that motivate them to complete their education, and this gets the job done,” said PIC Executive Director Neil Sullivan.

Education experts say that getting students to focus on potential careers early and outlining clear connections to the relevance of school will help curb the high school drop-out crisis. The PIC says that their program has helped play a role in improving Boston’s graduation rates, which have gone up 11 points in the last five years.

Warm up questions

1. Do you have a job outside of school? If so, what is it?

2. What are some pros and cons of after-school or weekend jobs?

3. What motivates you to stay in school?

Discussion questions

1. What did you find most interesting about this video?

2. Would you be interested in participating in a program like the one mentioned in the video? Why or why not?

3. Which other professional career fields besides health care do you think high-school students would be interested in working?

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