- Posted September 4, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From hobby to job
Creating Masterpieces., Not Widgets.
Community Guilds has developed a unique approach that provides college bound, but disconnected urban youth, an opportunity to learn skills they’ll need to thrive in school, work and life. Community Guilds targets at-risk students and teaches these skills the old-fashioned way – through hands-on learning and deep mentoring relationships that build grit and perseverance.
We offer new ways for communities to engage in public schooling and new opportunities for students to acquire 21st century skills. Community Guilds has two programs:
• Makerspace opportunities for middle school students that promote science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM); and
• Hands on, paid apprenticeships for high school students.
Our summer pilot apprenticeship results were pretty amazing. Take a look at our pictures on Facebook and you’ll see our apprentices getting their hands dirty, learning from community mentors, setting up their own business (and paying back real loans!), and developing transferable 21st century skills like creativity, collaboration, problem solving and design thinking. Imagine if we could offer this opportunity to every at-risk teenager.
Our goal this fall is to offer 12 high school students (24 in the spring) the opportunity to engage in a Community Guilds’ apprenticeship.
Community Guilds combines elements that are proven to work: mentoring, hands on learning, peer leadership, and real world entrepreneurship. We pair urban middle and high school youth with artisans and small business owners located closely to their public school and create accessible opportunities where students learn to tinker, design, build, fail, succeed, and ultimately create masterpieces with their own hands. We empower our youth by teaching them how to fund their enterprise, market their work and sell their finished masterpieces. Our unique combination of apprenticeship learning with authentic entrepreneurship in a supportive Guild structure not only engages youth but ensures students finish what they start and persevere when encountering challenges.
• We connect community experts with public school students and remove barriers so youth can learn new skills.
• We empower the next generation to overcome challenges while learning 21st century skills.
• We create community through a unique guild structure and deep mentor relationships.
• We provide accountability by setting very high expectations in authentic work based environments.
• Mobile makerspace that brings state of the art tools and community experts directly to a school.
• Increased community involvement between public education and local small business owners that provides deep mentoring opportunities.
• Student led Guild governance structure promoting youth leadership.
• Intentional focus on learning the most important skills needed to be successful in the workplace; professionalism, grit, collaboration, oral and written communication.
• Design thinking utilizing Stanford University’s d-school approach to problem solving.
• Physical products, Masterpieces, made by students that demonstrate true mastery.
• Entrepreneurial learning as youth market and sell their Masterpiece(s).
• Financial literacy and accountability as our youth take out, and pay back, loans with Kiva.
• Financial stability when youth learn skills, trades and crafts that enable them to earn more than their peers while still attending school.
Georgia continues to face a crisis in the number of high school dropouts and unskilled graduates. It currently has the third lowest graduation rate in the country. In 2011 21,000 students dropped out of Georgia schools. Minority males in urban schools face the steepest challenge, and of those that do graduate high school, only 16% will finish college. The discrepancy in STEAM is even more alarming. African-Americans, American Indians, and Latinos combined represent only 12 percent of all undergraduate degrees in engineering. Therefore, it is clear that Georgia needs additional interventions and strategies that decrease the number of dropouts while increasing college, work, and life ready skills.
- My life