Boy Scouts Connect Youth To Career Opportunities
Most people associate the Boys Scouts of America with camping and learning the value of civic duty. But what people may not know is the organization has a strong dedication to career exploration and readiness. Exploring, an affiliate of Boys Scouts of America, is an expansive worksite-based program focused on connecting young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20 with local workforce opportunities to learn applicable industry-specific skills. True to their Boys Scouts affiliation, Exploring aims to deliver character-building and life skills as well as mentorship that allow youth to achieve their full potential in both life and work.
Participation in the Exploring program exposes students to a variety of career opportunities available to them, bridging the demands of the local job market with students’ interests. Posts—which are a group of young people who have similar interest in the same career to gain knowledge about the career through hands on activities led by the advisor representing a business—are categorized by industry, such as aviation, business, and communications.
The most common posts fall into health care (262), firefighting and emergency medical services (1,277), and law enforcement (1,806). There are also posts focused on engineering, auto-technology, business, veterinary sciences, and culinary arts, demonstrating the expansive options available for students to explore.
Every post falls under the jurisdiction of a local council branch, with more than 270 operating across the country. Councils work with community leaders to determine local workforce shortages and needs. This information then lends itself to which posts are created for that region. For example, in Hawaii, professionals found a labor shortage in the auto-tech industry and worked with their Exploring branch to create new auto-tech posts.
In addition to focusing on localized workforce information, councils conduct Career Interest Surveys at high schools to inquire about students’ career goals. Once the data is collected, Exploring recruits local businesses to become partners, trains employee volunteers to be effective mentors, and works with volunteers to create meaningful hands-on activities that are linked to the respective industry.
The Exploring program has provided a foundation for creating a dependable workforce. This has been the case for the New York Police Department (NYPD), which relies on former Explorer participants from law enforcement posts. Employers who heavily depend on the strong character of their employees, such as a police department, know the value of an experienced talent pipeline. These former Explorer students not only interacted with the NYPD for years, they’ve gained the experience necessary to develop ethical decision-making skills.
Exploring has evolved exponentially since its founding in 1949. In addition to including more industry clusters and growing its number of posts, Exploring has expanded its reach to younger students. The Explorer Club program, which involve youth in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, alters the experience to include program activities more relevant to their age.
Exploring National Director Diane Thornton says, “Exploring is a great opportunity to create partnerships; business leaders and other community volunteers play a particularly important role impacting the lives of young people by sharing their skills and vast experiences.”
To learn more, visit the Exploring website or contact (972) 580 2433.
Watch U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Tom Donohue discuss the value Exploring plays in connecting youth to career opportunities.