Student Blog: This week in Jr. Apprentice

2016-2017 Student Blogs:

2017 Graduation Speech: Being a Role Model by Cavana Carey, Bulkeley High School

Cavana_Kerry Paintings

My name is Cavana Carey. I am a senior at Bulkeley High School, and I graduated from the Jr. Apprentice program last year. I am standing before you to speak about this experience. During Jr. Apprentice I was given the opportunity to work at the CT House of Democrats. During this internship I worked with a political analyst and created a testimony of my own. The testimony I wrote focused on the criminal justice system and young boys at the ages of 18 and younger. I was writing in favor of the Second Chance Act, which was brought up by Governor Dannel Malloy to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities.

Later, I was able to deliver this testimony to our very own legislative board. I argued that males at the age of 18 should not be sent to adult prisons. After careful research, I based my argument on the fact that the mind is not fully developed until at least 24 years of age. At an age this young, males should not be punished so harshly while they are still learning and developing. After delivering this speech I felt very accomplished, enlightened on so much new information, and empowered to educate others.

Being in Jr. Apprentice was overall a great experience for me. I learned skills that I can use for the rest of my life including effective interview skills, the appropriate attire for your job, and how to work as a team with your co-workers. I can honestly say that I have utilized these skills to earn scholarships, make a professional image for myself and work cooperatively with the people at my job.

At the end of Jr.Apprentice, our mentor, Eliana Cardeno, posted some great job opportunities including the a position at the YMCA, where I now work. This year I applied to colleges. The process was long and the decision was tough, but I have decided on some of my future plans. I will be attending Central Connecticut State University in the fall and I plan to study pediatrics. Being in Jr. Apprentice opened a window for my future and I will always be grateful for this experience.

As a role model for my younger sister Merceda McClain, I set an example for her to go out and get involved in new activities. Being the eldest sibling of three, came with a lot of pressure on my shoulders. Therefore, I show them how to be involved in programs such as Jr. Apprentice and not to be afraid to challenge themselves in that one AP class, which is why I am so proud to see my sister, Merceda McClain, graduate from the program today. I also spread the word to my peers to not be afraid to go above and beyond in life and to not be held back by where we come from. With programs such as this one we are able to gain experience and confidence in the work field, thus pushing us to pursue a career. This also pushes us to want to influence our loved ones around us.  I believe more people should be mentors to others and inspire them to follow in the positive foot steps you have paved. 

2017 Graduation Poem by Ta-John Brown, Bulkeley High School

ta-johnMy name is Ta-John Brown, 

I was born in Jamaica in Spanish Town

and have an abnormal fear of clowns,

the first time I came to America I almost drowned

so my father sent me back down to my hometown.

Anyways I returned in 2016

at the time I was only 15

and my skin was tan and pristine.

In my first math class I met Tigana and Hakeem

who brought me to track to meet Akeel and Kristine

but that’s not what made me decide to chase this dream.

So let me tell you more,

In Jamaica my dad worked to stop my family from being poor,

I was so sorry that I could not help before,

I knew that coming to America could open many doors,

but it was on a tuesday evening sometime around 1:44

that I had a class with Mr. Justin Taylor on the third floor

To be more precise, in the room to the right of room 324

That Alison showed me Mrs. Hawkins walking through the door.

She said Jr. Apprentice is a weekly class we would have to endure

To ensure

That we are ready to become leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs,

We did mock interviews and reviewed our scores

To assure

That we would know how to do an interview with our prospective mentors.

My mentor was more of a mother than a tutor,

I am sorry I never got to know her sooner,

She goes around inspiring minorities

Like the female Martin Luther King Jr,

Her intellect inspired me to take one night to learn html coding on my computer,

the care that she shows is extraordinary if not super,

She consistently brings me home so I do not have to pay for an uber,

All that she has taught me has prepared me for the future,

Mrs. Turner I love your spontaneity and your wonderful sense of humour.

Always Come Prepared by Merceda McClain, Bulkeley High SchoolCHRO

Hello, my name is Merceda McClain. I am a junior here at Bulkeley High School. I am a part of the Junior Apprentice program here as well as many other activities that are interesting to me. Last week, the Jr. Apprentice class had mock interviews to help us prepare for our upcoming interviews with the apprentice sites we are seeking to work for in the Spring.

Luckily, this was not my first interview. One of my best interviews was with the Near Peer Mentor Program at the YouMedia center in downtown Hartford. I was very happy and excited when I left the interview, because I knew that I had given great and influencing answers. I believe I did so well, because I was very prepared for many of the questions. I gave my brightest smile the entire time and always had the confident persona ready to shine. Since that interview, I have grown a lot. I used to be very unaware that I did not talk enough or give detailed answers. This time around, I felt like I was talking too much, which turned out not to be true. My ability to feel comfortable talking more came from  my preparation. I asked myself the questions that Mrs. Hawkins, the program director, gave me in the previous class, and brainstormed the answers. This process helped me say everything that I wanted to during the interview.

My interviewer was Karen Paulson, who works at a Hartford investment company. Karen knew how to give constructive feedback that made me feel comfortable. She advised me to study up on the job beforehand, and to not be afraid to do most of the talking during an interview. This will show my interviewer that I’ve done my homework, I am ready to talk about the job, and I know what questions I still have regarding the position. From Karen’s advice, I have set a goal for future interviews. I want to come prepared and know specifics about the job and organization. The most valuable thing I learned from the interview was that my personality will reflect who I am in the workplace and is important to leave the interviewer with a good impression. I want to thank Karen Paulson for her amazing feedback!

Tough Decisions: Learning about the Mentor Sites by Jahneil Clarke, Bulkeley High Schooljahneil

On November 3rd, in our Jr. Apprentice class, we had a mentor panel. Many of the mentors came and gave a brief summary of their work sites. Their presentations were very interesting, making it difficult to decide what work sites interest us most. Some of the mentors we heard from are: Don from Oak Hill- NEAT Center, Tony from Center for Latino Progress, Alice from URISE, Venton from FaithCare, Anne from Nightfall, Claudine from Health Equity Solutions, Sabrina from Girls for Technology, Spencer from Comm. on Human Rights & Opportunity, and Anne from the Wadsworth Museum. It was exciting to hear about the diverse opportunities in many different fields.

I am most interested in Oakhill, Nightfall, and FaithCare. Don Hoerman represented Oakhill where they refurbish and clean old medical equipment, such as crutches and wheelchairs. This allows them to not only recycle this equipment, but also to sell it at a discounted price. Anne Cubberly explained how at her studio they make big puppets for an annual show called Nightfall that is free for the public at a local park. Venton Forbes presented about his non-profit, FaithCare, which helps those in need access health care. They provide local communities with health services, as well as sponsoring mission trips that provide medical services to countries, such as Haiti, Africa and the Dominican Republic. I am looking forward to interviewing with them next month and seeing where I get to work.

Discovering Potential Career Fits by Edwin Castellano, Pathways Academy of Technology and Design

edwin-c-pic   Last week in our Jr. Apprentice class we discussed O-Net, an online resource where you are able to take a survey and at the end it will offer some career options based on your answers to the question. The questions asked you to rank how much you would enjoy different activities including building a home, raising fish in a fish hatchery, and installing software. All of the students had different career selections in the end. As for me, my biggest areas were conventional and realistic. Conventional careers often follow a set of procedures and routines. Realistic careers include practical, hands-on problem solving. I was not really surprised with the careers that were suggested, I feel like I would fit in with the careers that were suggested although some did not seem as interesting.

After that we were given a book on jobs in CT from the Department of Labor. I was surprised with all the jobs that were available. There was a huge variety of jobs from engineering to business, I was pretty relieved when I saw that there was a diversity of jobs here in CT. I really enjoyed this lesson, now I know that wherever I go there will be many careers available.

The next week on Saturday, October 15th we went to Winding Trails in Farmington, both Bulkeley and Pathways Academy of Technology and Design students. We engaged in team building activities where we had to communicate and help each other in order to complete our tasks. I thought that no one had any problems communicating with each other. We all respected each other’s ideas and were able to complete the challenges. Overall the whole trip was a great experience and a great way to get to know each other.

Individual work priorities by Victor Alicea, Pathways Academy of Technology and Design

Last week, we had a class discussion about why people choose to work. What I victorlearned from our class discussion was that we work to develop ourselves, and not just to keep up with our payments. We work to have fun, to participate in something, to meet new people and gain opportunities in our lives. We also discussed what jobs we would like to be in and in what field, and if we would like to work in different areas. We did an activity using a pyramid to compare which types of jobs we would enjoy the most. I also learned the kind of job I would like to have by discussing it with the class. I want to work in a hands-on environment such as being a technician or mechanic. We learned how to choose the perfect job that will not feel like work or be boring.

2015-2016 Student Blogs:

4th Annual Job Shadow Day at Comcast by Hannah DesmaraisDSC08214

Last week, Jr. Apprentice students had the opportunity to visit the Comcast headquarters for a career and job shadow day. While there, we learned a lot of valuable things. We learned about how despite all desiring different career paths, the majority of us could find a suitable job at the same place; Comcast. Comcast, while more often than not merely thought of as just a service provider, it encompasses a lot more than just that. To make the service it provides to customers possible, multiple aspects need to be taken into consideration. There’s the marketers, who sell the product; the technicians, who fix the product if there’s a problem; the people who work on the products to produce new and more advanced items that are geared toward the general population; and those that keep track of the data to figure out what consumers like these days, just to name a few. At the Comcast headquarters, they paired us with mentors, who despite not necessarily having the career we wanted to know about, could still provide us with valuable insight. My mentor, while giving me a tour of the building and explaining what goes on in each room, also gave me advice on college and a future career. She was able to explain just about all aspects of the different jobs in the building, and knew a lot of people, even though she didn’t have the same job as them.  I enjoyed this field trip because it taught me that more goes into a successful company than what’s perceived, and it doesn’t hurt to be involved in the entire company instead of only interacting with those with the same type of job. People with different jobs can sometimes give you better advice about your career than those with the same job as you, because they have a fresh perspective and different experiences.

Into the Future by Xyaria ClarkeXyaria Clarke

This week in our Jr. Apprentice class, we had a guest speaker named Tammy Lorenzo, a college counselor that came to speak about a program called Career Beginnings, another program of The Hartford Consortium for Higher Education. Ms. Lorenzo shared information about how she can help us get into college through mentoring and assistance with the college application process. I liked that she discussed the program as a fun, learning opportunity. I left the class knowing that Ms. Lorenzo is and will be a resource to learn more about college opportunities, to answer any questions about college applications, and to get fee waivers, which will assist us and our families. It is nice to know that there are other counselors that are available at Bulkeley High School at least twice a week. Overall, it was a good learning experience for the class.

I think college is important but sometimes it’s not for everyone. I personally would like to attend college in the near future and I believe that the free social activities the Career Beginnings program offers can be fun but also very beneficial. It can give you the information you need to help you get where you want to go.

My recent experiences as an apprentice with The Hartford Food System have been very exciting. I enjoy working with my mentor and friend, Robert Wild. He has taught me a lot and helped me through some tough times. I had the chance to work with another group very closely and we recently planted trees at Pope Park Highway. It was a wonderful experience. We helped pick up trash around the park and planted a bunch of beautiful trees. I’ve never planted a tree before so I was really excited and proud when we finished and our looking forward to seeing the final results.

Social Entrepreneurship: How business can not only help your pocket but also help change the world by Klay ClarkeDSC08210

This week in our Jr. Apprentice class, we learned about social entrepreneurship, and had a wonderful guest speaker and social entrepreneur, Trudi Lebron. Ms. Lebron addressed the topic of social entrepreneurship, and furthered clarified the difference between for-profit businesses, nonprofits and social enterprises. She talked to us about our career goals and gave us insight into how her life was at our age. She even addressed the common question about whether nonprofit organizations make money. In response to this question, she stated that for-profit businesses possess the goal of making money, while nonprofit organizations have a mission related to social impact. Social enterprises are somewhere in the middle. We learned that although social entrepreneurs strive to be financially stable and comfortable, they also share similar goals to many nonprofit organizations. At the end of class, Ms. Lebron gave us a helpful tip that all of us will be able to use in the future: when choosing a major in college, it is best to pick something that you are passionate about and that you believe would have a significant social impact rather than choosing a major that you think pays the most, or is the most popular. She advised us to think of social problems that are close to our heart and decide on a major that could lead to solutions for that problem.

Today’s class helped me realize that it is not all about the money, it is about the impact made by a company. Trudi Lebron also helped the apprentices realize that many people are labeled with a particular narrative and given stereotypes, however, the greatest feeling is to go against the generalization and make a name for yourself. Her story showed us that we cannot let what others think we will become be a barrier to our success. Overall, this was an amazing experience and the guest speaker was extremely informational to the apprentices, especially those striving to become entrepreneurs in the future.

For my apprenticeship, I have been lucky enough to be partnered with Knox, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Every time I show up for work, I am reminded of how lucky I am. I appreciate pleasant greetings and being treated like family.  One of my favorite experiences was having the opportunity to assist the Green Crew members shovel snow at some of Knox’s many community gardens. This experience taught me that teamwork is important in many life situations and the Green Crew members’ jobs are challenging yet very rewarding. I learned that the professionals do not wake up everyday bright and early for a paycheck. Instead, they are in love with helping and giving back. This is what makes me love the Knox organization. It is not only a love for horticulture or gardening, but also a love for their community.

03/18/2016 – Learning About Teamwork in my Jr. Apprentice Class by Cavana Carey DSC08206

This week in our Jr. Apprentice class, we learned more about what it means to work together as a team. We participated in a team building activity working in small groups of two or three. Our instructions were to build the sturdiest and tallest tower with a stack of notecards and a few paper clips. Everyone got to work on building their towers for a certain amount of time. My group and I began to think as one and came up with a mental structure that we believed would be best with the products provided. With only 10 minutes and limited materials, we worked together to come up with something fast. I realized that we were communicating a lot because it would not work without communication and teamwork. After everyone finished building their tower and Ms. Cardeno said “time,” everyone had to drop everything. Then, based on the initial parameters, Ms. Cardeno and Veronica, the JRA intern, decided whose tower was the best. My team’s tower won the competition because it was sturdy and we used most of our materials. We happily took the victory and the delicious chocolate bunnies for a prize.

This activity taught me that if there is ever a situation in life that will require me to work in a team setting; lots of good communication, leadership, and understanding will be necessary. I know that what I learned today will definitely help me in the future. There will always be times in any given work field that will require you to have to work with other people in order to achieve the desired results. I learned that having the will and knowledge about what it takes to work as a team is a very useful and a great skill everyone should carry throughout life.

What I enjoyed most about the class was being able to work with my peers as one. We have done many team building activities that have brought us closer together. Today, I left class thinking about how much my classmates, Mrs. Cardeno, and Veronica have been able to grow more as a family. I remember when we first went on a trip to a ropes course and everyone was very shy and too reserved to want to go out and interact with the rest of the students, and I see such a big difference today. Team building activities like the one we did today has definitely brought all of us out of our shells and closer together like peas in a pod.

In regards to my apprenticeship, I would have to say that the most fun and interesting thing for me has been being able to get real life experiences in the workforce. I enjoy being able to go into the legislative house after school, work on testimonies, and go to hearings. Every time I’ve been, I find myself learning about new things, which was one of my goals from the beginning.  Whether it was learning about the second chance act for juveniles, going to hearings about things such as domestic violence, or just having lunch with my mentor, I have truly enjoyed myself and have been able to learn at the same time.

My apprenticeship has taught me that it is always good to try new things, and be open to opportunities that come your way. Before I started this apprenticeship I wasn’t big on politics, I didn’t want anything to do with politics. As time has passed, I have learned to grow a love for what I’ve been learning about. I became more open and active with activities that concern my community. I learned that in life everyone may not like everything, but it’s always good to give everything a try and weigh your options. Jr. Apprentice taught me to be a leader for my peers, and set an example for what they should try doing in life. That is getting out, learning, experiencing and achieving.

03/10/2016 – Managing Money in a Way That Matters by Erdit Abedini


Hello, my name is Erdit and I will be sharing what we did in class this week. A guest speaker from The Youth Money School returned to our career-readiness class to continue teaching us about the importance of managing money by saving, budgeting and investing. We talked about how to make ourselves more successful and how to become more confident about our finances in the future. During class, we worked on exercises to determine how to manage money in different situations. I enjoyed learning about smart goals, more specifically, about the meaning of smart goals and how they can be used to help me become financially stable. I enjoyed talking about budgeting, how to track our money, and how to prepare for college expenses. This class was very helpful as my knowledge about managing and spending money has increased.

During my apprenticeship this week, I learned how to create my own business cards. It was an enjoyable process and it gave me an idea of how to do it with my own businesses in the future. What I enjoyed the most in my apprenticeship this week were the reviews from the Minuteman Press customers on our social media accounts. The reviews were about their experience with the company and whether they would recommend us to other people. I can use all the knowledge gained this week in my future plans, including college and other aspirations that I have.

03/04/2016 – Financial Literacy: The Introduction by Rebeca VazquezRebeca Vazquez

Hello, my name is Rebeca Vazquez, and I am a member of the Jr. Apprentice Program at Bulkeley High School. This week at my apprenticeship, I learned about the accounting profession. I sat down with a member of the CT Forum family and a very hard working woman named Delia, and she gave me an overview of what she does as an accountant. A big part of her job is budgeting and making sure that there is a suitable amount of funding for future event planning. I learned that when planning for an event, all factors and components have to be taken into consideration.

This week in class we had a guest speaker that further addressed the topic of financial literacy. Financial literacy, in short, is the ability to know how money works, how someone earns money, and how to make smart choices to remain financially stable. Before we started the class discussion, we took a pre-test that evaluated how much we knew about financial literacy. Overall, it was clear that we had a decent grasp of the concept so we began to discuss the factors that contribute to being financially fit/stable. One aspect of being economically stable is to know where you are financially. It is a good idea to highlight your spending habits and to make note of where and what you are spending your money on. Learning to limit your spending and coming up with a plan to save money leads to being able to support yourself and becoming financially independent. Before this is accomplished, individuals need an understanding of how money works and what can be done with their money. With this information we are able to effectively think about how we can be smarter with our earnings and develop an overall savings plan that works for us.

02/26/2016 – Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving Skills by Dwayne Thompson

Dwayne Thompson

Hi, my name is Dwayne Thompson. I am a junior at Bulkeley High School and a member of the Jr. Apprentice program. Today, at my apprenticeship, I had the opportunity to see how the blueprints and renderings for houses are made. What interested me the most was that some are drawn, some are made on the computer, and some are made with a combination of both design tools. Learning how to use the program that these blueprints are made with will help me create things that I need to for my career later in the future. During our class meeting today, we learned about the best ways to resolve a problem. This will help us by giving us knowledge on how to not get into big altercations at work and in our personal lives. We participated in an activity where we had to put ourselves in order from youngest to oldest without speaking. We found out that verbally speaking was not the only way to solve a problem. I learned that there are many different ways to solve problems. I left class thinking about other ways conflict management and problem solving could help me in the future.

02/12/2016 – Mini-projects and Expectations for the Future of our Apprenticeships by Destiny Rivera Destiny Rivera

Hello, my name is Destiny Rivera, and I am a junior at Bulkeley High School and a member of Jr. Apprentice Program. This week in class, we spoke about the mini-projects we will be completing during our apprenticeships and that we will present at our graduation from the program. Our mini-projects will relate to our specific job and will be done with the help of our delegated mentors. The ideas and plans for our projects are due at the beginning of March but the finalized project is due at the beginning of May. We have the option to use different materials, such as a trifold or a PowerPoint presentation to present our projects.

This new information will help me make future decisions by helping me to stay grounded during my apprenticeship. Rather than worrying about where my work is going to go, I can have a tangible goal to work towards producing. It can also help my job site. For example, Ms. Cardeño spoke of when a previous Jr. Apprentice member’s project was to translate all of the pamphlets from her work site into Spanish so Spanish speakers could better comprehend the knowledge they were being presented.

This Jr. Apprentice meeting allowed me to leave the class in high hopes. As I listened to other students talk excitedly about their job sites, my own hopes and expectations were heightened. Ms. Cardeño went around the class and that was when everyone began to speak about the positive work experiences they have encountered so far. This caused me to look forward to going to my own job site and reliving the friendly atmosphere I was in during orientation.

02/05/2016 – Reviewing Conflict Management and Communication Skills by Fransheska MontañezFransheska Montanez

Hello, my name is Fransheska Montañez, and I am a member of the Jr. Apprentice Program. This week in class, we learned about conflict management skills and we reviewed communication skills. We learned that it is important to listen when a person is talking to us, to not use slang words and to stay positive with coworkers and supervisors. With nonverbal communication, it is important to use appropriate body language when someone is talking to us, such as always making eye contact and being careful of our facial expressions. What I enjoyed most about class this week was participating in an activity where we had to work through a mini-conflict with our partner. First, we had to debate and then we dialogued. After the activity we discussed the difference between a dialogue and a debate. This will help me be successful because now I know that it is professional to keep a proper posture, to keep calm when there is a conflict, and to give my undivided attention to another person. This new information will help me make future decisions because I know that my posture says a lot about me. I also have to remember to be careful what I write because the reader cannot see my nonverbal cues. What I enjoyed most about my apprenticeship is that the people are kind and they help each other and they try to make learning fun.

02/01/2016 – The Importance of Workplace Etiquette by Xyaria ClarkeXyaria Clarke

Hello, my name is Xyaria Clarke, and I am a junior at Bulkeley High School and a member of the Jr. Apprentice Program. This week in class, we learned about ‘Workplace Etiquette.’ We learned what to ask before reporting to our work sites and during our orientation week. For example we learned to ask for the time, dates, addresses, what to wear, what’s the best form of communication, etc. This will help us become successful because we’ll know what questions to ask when starting a job and how to show up appropriately and on time. This new information will help me make future decisions on what important information is needed before starting a new job or project. Today in class I enjoyed learning about my work site that I’ll be starting soon. I left class thinking about how I’d do when I start working and what tools I will use to improve my performance and to make a good first impression.

01/26/2016 – Financial Education by Paola GarrigaPaola Garriga

Hello, I’m Paola Garriga, a member of the Jr. Apprentice program at Bulkeley High School. During our class meeting, two representatives from Santander Bank, Scott and Matt, gave us information on Financial Education and what it means to be “financially fit.” Financial Literacy consists of keeping track of your savings, budgets, investments, etc.; with the key phrase of “saving more and spending less.” With a bank account, the member is eligible to have a checking account, a savings account, or both. In terms of a savings account, Matt informed us that there is a possibility of creating goals for short term savings (i.e., food, outfits or supplies), and long term savings (i.e., college, car, or a house). They went on to advise us that there are tools available given by the bank that help people save money and time. For example, there are countless banks that offer a mobile app that allows its members to pay bills, take pictures of their checks to deposit them, as well as account balances on both checking and savings account. After discussing savings tools, they introduced the roles that debit and credit cards play when we have our own bank accounts. The debit card is where a person can access their money quicker out of their checking funds, whereas the credit card is more of a loan. In other words, the bank sends you a bill for the money spent. When it comes to the interest rate, Matt explained that this is the money that the bank uses to give you the money you need in your credit and debit cards. Getting a chance to learn about financial education has opened my mind to greater things from the economy. This information will not only help me save money, but save me from future crisis that are in need of logic and background knowledge in banking. I enjoyed getting very detailed questions and answers from the representatives and the students that have helped clarify the things I did not comprehend about the world of finance.

12/10/2015 – Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing by Hannah DesmaraisHannah Desmarais

Hello, my name is Hannah Desmarais, and I’m a member of Jr. Apprentice Program at Bulkeley High School. In this week’s meeting, we went in depth about the “do’s and don’ts” of interviewing. The guest speaker, Rebecca Wareing, a Search Consultant at Management Search Inc., provided us with helpful tips to use when being interviewed that will set us apart from other prospective applicants, and can make or break our chances of getting the job. She informed us that interviewers take note of everything; details like attire and the type of handshake you give can even determine whether or not you get the job. She also went over how an interview is generally set up. After you introduce yourself with a firm handshake; the interview usually starts with the question of: why don’t you tell me about yourself? This is where you give them your “elevator speech,” typically around 30 seconds, in which you advertise your strengths and your accomplishments. It’s best to reference examples of your strengths. Spend time beforehand thinking about strengths and what you’d be bringing to the table if you were hired. For example if you’re great with technology, mention that, or if you’re a great leader, be sure to bring that up. Also, don’t avoid talking about your weaknesses, and definitely don’t lie about them either. Be upfront about them, but explain why they wouldn’t be a problem in the future. An example would be if you’re not familiar with a technology software they use, bring that to their attention, but follow with the fact that you’ve mastered numerous other things, so with some training it should be easy to pick up their programs. In addition, we learned that the most successful interviews are the ones where there’s an engaging discussion coming from both sides, not just the interviewer asking questions and the interviewee answering them. An useful tip for making sure the interview is engaging is to answer the question, then ask one in return, so it’s not a one-sided conversation. As the interview wraps up, ask questions that encourage the interviewer to share their opinions, like: ‘what made you join this company,’ not factual questions such as ‘what’s the salary.’ A sure thing to make a lasting impression is to get their business card and send a follow-up email thanking them for their time, as well as reminding them why you’re a good candidate for the position.

Knowing these things will help me to be successful because I will keep in mind what not to do, as well as important things to remember and do during future interviews. I know the general layout of how interviews go, which will help me to be more prepared when it comes to what to expect and how to act. This information will assist me in making future decisions because I’ll know, for example, to prepare beforehand so I know what to say in the interview instead of feeling like I’m being put on the spot. I’ll also remember to use some of these tips like sending a follow-up email to thank them, or bringing a printed copy of my resume with me to the interview to leave a more lasting impression. In class today, I most enjoyed all of the useful tips I received from Mrs. Wareing because they won’t just be helpful to me now, they’re tips I can use when interviewing for any job or career in my future. I left class thinking that when I have interviews in the future, I’m definitely going to refer back to what I learned today to better my chances of being hired, or at least making a good impression, and maybe even standing out.

11/24/2015 – Social Media Identity and The Effects It May Have on the Job Recruitment Process and Job Opportunities by Klay ClarkeKlay Clarke

Hello, my name is Klay Clarke. I attend Bulkeley High School, and am a junior and a member of the Jr. Apprentice Program. In today’s meeting, we covered personal branding and how your social media presence may negatively or positively, affect your brand. The guest speaker was Jennifer Worhle, a workforce development specialist and freelance consultant. We learned that we should always be careful when posting on social media sites since many job recruiters research candidates online before hiring. More specifically, 42% of job recruiters reconsidered a candidate based on his or her social media identity and presence. That’s almost half of job recruiters. We also learned about LinkedIn and how it can improve your social media presence while acting as an online resume that is not pertinent to one specific career path. LinkedIn is also very useful as it allows job recruiters to contact large sums of potential job candidates in a nearly effortless way. The information that I learned today will help me become successful and help me make future decisions by instilling in me the precautions that should be considered before submitting a post to social media. In the meeting today, I enjoyed the advice and tips that I received as I understand that it will be useful information that I will definitely consider when in the position of revamping my social media identity and applying to jobs. Today, I left class wondering what posts and pictures I will be deleting from my various social media accounts. My goal, after today’s meeting, is to create a more professional social media presence and environment for myself.

11/19/2015 – Journey to my Career by Kristene ChinKristene Chin

My name is Kristene Chin, a 16 year old junior at Bulkeley High School, and a member of the Jr. Apprentice Program. Our meeting today was delivered by a panel of professionals who are from a variety of occupations. Firstly, all of the students had an opportunity to introduce ourselves, state our interests and also share what we would love to become in the future by stating our dreams and aspirations. Then, the panel each introduced themselves, described their occupations, and shared what inspired them to choose their fields. Afterwards, they explained the paths each of them took to arrive to the point they are at now, and how many times or tries it took for them to actually decide what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. This experience will help me to become successful because it has informed me about other career professions and trajectories, which allows me to examine all my interests and see how I can turn them into a profession, and also to keep my options open when deciding what or where I would like to be situated.  The panelists also explained how it is best to find the position that best fits my personality and/or my interests. This new information can open my horizons because it has shown me how a passion or one of my interests can take me on many routes while on the path of getting to my goal and also shows me how one interest can lead to many job options – this also helps me to keep my options open. This new information is also a great example of how much research has to be done before you decide to spend your whole life studying for a profession or occupation that you will eventually decide that this particular profession is not what you actually wanted to be in. I enjoyed every aspect of our meeting. I enjoyed asking questions and getting new information especially since I am a junior. This also helps me to make a decision of which path I would like to take because college is actually right around the corner and a decision has to be made whether I like it or not. I left class with an open mind on where I would love to be in the future. I also left with a lot of information about six different professions that actually are very different f from my passions and interests.

11/13/2015 – My experience learning about personal skills and resumes with the Jr. Apprentice Class by Cavana CareyCavana Carey

Today in our Jr. Apprentice class we learned about resumes, and the skills you should have enlisted on these resumes. We also learned that things like volunteer experiences, qualifications and skills that you have as a person (languages, computer skills, etc) can also be added to your resume. There are two types of skills, hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills that are teachable. Soft skills are skills that you adapt to on your own, the skills you grow with as a person, such as conflict resolution, personal attitude, and teamwork. As an activity, we got into groups of two to demonstrate such skills without speaking; afterwards our classmates guessed which skills were being demonstrated.

Another thing we learned about in class was about our social media presence and how it can portray us as a person. For example, the pictures you post online, the statuses you make on your social media accounts, etc. Most importantly, the impact it can have on our resumes and our job search. Resumes are made to increase the chance a person has of getting a job, getting into a college, or for someone to get to know a bit more about who you are and what skills and qualifications you hold as an individual. Your resume is a representation of what you can do, or what you can contribute to whatever company/ institution you are looking forward to joining. I believe what we learned in class today will help us later on in future, because it’s always good to practice skills and get familiar with them so that we can apply them to our daily lives. Having a good resume can help get you into a good college or get a good job, people will also be impressed by your learned skills and your background information. Todays’ Jr. Apprentice class was very fun, informative, and has definitely helped me think about the skills I’ll need to help better my future.

This information will help me make better decisions because I learned to monitor what I put online, and how I portray myself as a person. I also learned that I should consider learning and practicing more hard and soft skills that will help increase the information I have on my resume. These will help benefit my future because I’ll have the skills institutions are looking for when they’re looking for applications to accept, or people to admit into the industry. I also know now to practice things like teamwork, good communication, and conflict resolution every day to improve myself as a person.

I have left class thinking, “How can I incorporate everything I’ve learned today into my daily life?” and today, I’m looking over my social media accounts, going over my resume, and practicing the soft skills I learned about today. At the end of the meeting I left feeling smarter; and even more confident about myself, and my future.

11/9/2015 – Creating a Personal Brand by Jamar Bartley   Jamar Bartley

Hello, my name is Jamar Bartey, and this week in class we learned about ‘Personal Brands.” I learned that creating a personal brand is important because it will help me be successful in life, and will help me get a bigger and better job in the long run. The thing that I enjoyed the most in class was the activity in which we helped each other create personal brands by sharing information about ourselves and our goals. I left class thinking about how I can be better version of myself to help improve my brand.

11/2/201Erdit Abedini5 – Jobs vs. Careers by Erdit Abedini

Hello, my name is Erdit Abedini and I want to share the experience from class today. Today in class, I learned about the differences between jobs and careers. A career is a general course of progression towards lifelong goals, and a job is an activity though which an individual can earn money. A career requires special learning to develop abilities beyond what regular training is capable of offering. In a job, the education or special training may or may not be required. Also, what I learned was that a career is referred as a long term investment and a job is referred as a short term investment. As a result, a job is just there to put some easy cash in your pocket; a career provides the backbone of experiences and learning that will fuel your professional life for years, if not your entire life. All this new information that I learned will help me to be successful because now I have a better idea of what to do with my life with the future decisions which include going to college and event what I want to major in. What I enjoyed most about the class was the activity where we had to choose between our high and low priorities. When I was leaving the class I thought about my future and the decisions that I need to make soon.

2014-2015 Students Blogs:

4/9/2015 – Reflecting on my time in Jr. Apprentice by Jimmy Morales FullSizeRender

I’m glad I joined Jr. Apprentice because it helped me so much with getting a job and getting work experience. Without this program, I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to get real life work experience as well as letting me see what is out there and to meet new people as well. I would really invite people to join the program because it would really help them out. Not only that they will get the chance to work in the real world, but after the program you will get a job much easier.. The program helps you get ready for an interview and after that helps you set a bank account. Just last week in the class, we learned about the stock market and the stores that are there that you can buy stock in and their ticker symbols. But most important, I learned about the risk. I’m really glad I have this information now. I wish had it when I was a freshman so I could been much more prepared on getting a job and how to do on a interview. This program helped me build up my resume and also help out to edited it so when you have more experience. This is a really good program. Thank you again for bringing me into the program.

3/30/2015 – Planning for Meaningful Summer Engagement by Grace Graham


Hi, my name is Grace Graham, and I am an apprentice at the Malta House of Care Foundation, a Hartford non-profit organization that provides medical services free of charge to individuals without medical insurance or access to health care. There, I work alongside my mentor, Betsy Walsh. I help design slideshows with important health information, assemble invitations and flyers for their important events, and participate in board and staff meetings. While these tasks are quite small compared to the work Mrs. Walsh actually specializes in, they have introduced me to the professional world, and allowed me to develop professional skills, such as networking, proper communication and leadership.

Like most kids my age, I want to have an unforgettable summer vacation. I too, dream about going to Six Flags on a daily basis, vacationing to tropical paradises, boarding a cruise, or just relaxing at home. These wants often turn into dreams during these chilly months. However, I found that it is only right to balance leisure with efforts to improve my education and job experiences. Now, I’m not forcing myself to have a boring vacation, reading books all day or constantly studying, however, I am working towards bettering myself. Studies have actually found that kids who do not participate in “meaningful summer engagement” (exercising their minds with experience or education), lose two months worth of their math and reading skills! This is a scary loss, but coincidentally, today’s class offered a solution!

Today, my peers and I learned the three steps we need to take if we want “meaningful summer engagement.” First, we must find out what we are interested in pursuing. The first step is the easiest part because we should all know what we love to do. Secondly, we must develop a detailed plan for doing that; in other words, there should be a clear path to getting to where we want to go, and we must be able to articulate it. With a plan in mind, we complete the very last step, which is talking to people, or network, to see if we can get that summer job, camp position, volunteer opportunity, etc. Fortunately, we all work alongside mentors and professionals who would willingly direct us to our goal. We can also talk to parents/guardians, experienced friends, teachers, or counselors about finding a summer opportunity.

What I learned today in class was key information to getting started on self-improvement. I cannot afford to lose any math or reading skills –  I have plans to apply to college, and excel in my dream career. Now, I am thinking about obtaining a summer job, becoming a camp counselor, or attending an enrichment program. So, steps one and two have already been taken. With all that I have learned in Jr. Apprentice so far, such as forming connections, maintaining a brand, and expanding my brand on social media, I know it won’t be difficult to find a wonderful summer opportunity.

3/20/2015 – My apprenticeship and Raejon copymaking financial decisions by Raejon Gaines

My apprenticeship takes place at a company called ‘Urise,’ which promotes interactive and relevant media that empowers urban entrepreneurs. My apprenticeship has helped me improve my communication skills and also technical skills, such as computer programming and gaming software. At this stage, I can study the basics of setting up game software and program it to a 3D motion picture. My apprenticeship will help me become successful because I can take what I know and demonstrate my skills, and hopefully in the future, work for a bigger company that involves the skills I have learned. What I like most about the work atmosphere is how calm and nice everyone is to me and each other, and that I can work peacefully with everyone without disagreement or conflict. The company provides an environment where we can all come together as one and create and discuss new ideas and business initiatives.

This week in class I learned that having a debit card can come in handy both in the present and future because it will be secure and I can use it when I really need it instead of having a bunch of extra cash that can be wasted on shopping, fast food, device, etc. With the money securely placed in a bank account, I can save for things I will need later in life and it will help me make better future decisions regarding my expenses and finances.

 3/16/2015 – “GRPI” by Danielle AllerdyceIMG_1610

Today in my apprenticeship at COMPASS, a nonprofit organization that provides youth development programs to Hartford youth, I worked with a group of students on a project using the computer; discussed ideas for my final mini project; and socialized with the students. I enjoy going to my apprenticeship because I love how the kids get attached to you and always want to talk and share their experiences. I enjoy bonding with the students and staff as well.

During class, I learned about the importance of goals, roles and responsibilities, processes, and interpersonal Communication (GRPI Model). We did an activity where we were able to determine why it is a good idea to use all these tools both in the workplace and in general when working with a team. Having goals gives a person or team something to work for; and setting roles and responsibilities helps everyone get on task and take on equal responsibilities. This is helpful for an individual and/or a team to be successful. What I enjoyed most in class was the team building activity; in the activity we had to work in groups to try and build a tower that was both tall and sturdy with just flashcards and paperclips. It was a perfect example of why it is important to communicate and for everyone to be aware of their duties.

This new information will help me with future decisions because now I understand how important it is to communicate with others in the work environment. Communication is the key! This will help me get organized and learn how to deal with a difficult situations and future conflicts.

3/6/2015 – Learning from Everyone by Amber Smith 1

Ever since I started working at the Connecticut House Democrats, I find it even more helpful to come into the Jr. Apprentice classroom every week. Before we started going into our individual jobs, we were being taught proper office etiquette and conflict-resolution strategies. Jr. Apprentice gave us the tools and language that are most appropriate for the workplace. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was going to need any of this going into my apprenticeship but when I went in my first day, I was surprised by how much of it actually helped.

During my first day of work I was a little overwhelmed by all of these professional people I was making trying to make an impression on. It was a completely new environment for me and I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt out of place. Everyone was asking me questions that I was very happy I knew the answer to because of the Jr. Apprentice program. I’ve found that simple questions such as, ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?’ can be very stressful to answer if you don’t practice a response. When my mentor asked me if I had any questions, I was relieved when I already had some prepared because of a conversation I had during class. I felt I would have been completely lost if I didn’t receive guidance through the program before hand.

What I really like about the program is that not only do I get advice and guidance from Dr. Silverstein or Ms. Cardeno but from fellow Jr. Apprentice members. When we talk about all of our jobs, I find that we share similar feelings and experiences even though we are all are working in different fields . We rely on each other and it is nice to have a sense of community to come back to every Tuesday. Everyone wants to hear about what I do and is interested in my work projects and activities. I’m also fascinated with what they are doing every week and want to hear all about their experiences .

I feel that this this is something unique that I wouldn’t have experienced if I wasn’t a part of this program.The group and class environment offers a safe setting to ask questions and share experiences; and I probably would have felt lost and uncomfortable a lot longer than I did during my first week of work. Knowing that other members are feeling the same and we are helping each other is extremely comforting. Jr. Apprentice doesn’t just offer guidance but it is also like my personal work-related support group.

2/26/2015 – Utilizing Problem Solving Skills by Andrea Aware Andrea

This week at my apprenticeship, I did some research on the produce sold by the Hartford Mobile Market, specifically looking at the nutritional value. The purpose of finding this information is to later place it on flyers or posters in front of the produce so that customers may be aware of the benefits of purchasing/consuming these foods. This may also encourage customers to shop more frequently at the Mobile Market because they will be aware of the value of the fruits/vegetables sold by HFS. This was a good learning experience for me because I learned a lot about the essential vitamins and nutrients in certain produce, and I also learned new strategies that organizations like these can use to grow their clientele.

I really enjoyed doing this research for Hartford Food System because I know that by doing this, I am helping this organization address the food insecurity problem in Hartford and other urban areas. I also enjoy that I can help in many ways. This apprenticeship does not have strict guidelines for what I am to do. It is very flexible and I am pleased with that. I could be working on a creative project at one moment like creating a flyer and then doing research at another time. I really enjoyed that I get to learn about several aspects of the organization.

This will help me be successful because having experience in different types of tasks from my first apprenticeship is very valuable. This may open doors for me in the future for having jobs or other internships that may not relate to food insecurity like Hartford Food System but may require the same skills that I learned within this apprenticeship.

Today in class, I learned about the difference between problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, yet I also learned how they could all relate when trying to arrive at a solution to a problem. I learned that when a problem arises, whether in the workplace or anywhere else, one might use critical thinking and creativity to come up with solutions. I learned that doing this is part of problem solving because we are using what we know, along with new creative ideas, to solve an issue. In addition to this, I also learned that when coming up with a solution to a problem, a perfect solution is not required and may not always be possible to reach. One has to make the best of what is available.

This information will help me in the future with solving issues I might have to face at my apprenticeship or life in general. I will be prepared with the knowledge it takes to arrive at different solution options as well as how to identify the best solution. I will be prepared to make decisions that will not worsen the situation.

I left class thinking about problems that I had in the past and what skills I have used to solve them. I concluded that many of us have partaken in problem solving in one way or another but not all of us know how to determine what the best solution is, or that there is not always a perfect solution but rather a satisfactory one.

2/16/2015 – What is Conflict Management? By Devon Williams photo

I learned in class last week how to use conflict management skills to solve a disagreement at the workplace. I learned that to solve a problem, I can speak calmly and listen to the other peoples’ point of view. Furthermore, avoiding toxic words “like”, “you always”, “you never”, “never mind” and “whatever”. One conflict I had was in math class where I had to do a project on linear function and I was not happy with my grade so I calmly went to the teacher and asked why I had received that grade; I explained my point of view and why I was not happy with my grade and she saw that I just wanted to find out why I had my grade. She calmly explained the reason for the grade and gave me the chance to fix it; so by using proper conflict management skills I was able to solve the problem I had with my grade. I feel that these skills can help me in the workplace if I ever get in a conflict with anyone. I will have the skills to fix the problem while demonstrating my point of view. My responsibilities at my apprenticeship at “Think it Drink it” are to write blogs and post stuff about the company on social media sites like Facebook. I also think of ways to present to my peers what the company does and what they are about. What I like about my apprenticeship is working with my coworkers to make special posts on their website to talk more about the company and its brand.

2/12/2015 – Practicing good communication & conflict resolution skills by David Santiago20150211_210949

My apprenticeship is at the N.E.A.T. Center at Oak Hill, which is a facility that refurbishes used medical equipment and sells them for a smaller price. At the center, I am learning how to clean and put together medical equipment alongside Jimmy Morales, a classmate who also has an apprenticeship there.

In Jr. Apprentice class this week, I learned about the definition of communication, how and why it is important to deal with conflict using positive communication skills, and what those skills are. I enjoyed when my classmates acted out a scene using both good and bad communication skills.

This will help me be more successful recognizing how to properly deal with possible conflicts at work using good communication skills. I learned that by using positive feedback in any situation, it can ease tension and fix problems faster.

This new information can help me make better decisions in order to avoid creating more problems. It will also help me pay attention to the opinions of others to solve problems better. I left the class thinking about the ways I can use the skills I’ve learned and apply them to any other conflicts in addition to the ones that may occur at work.

2/8/2015 – Reflecting on my 1st day by Don’dre RichardsonIMG_2025

On this past Thursday, I attended my Jr. Apprentice meeting. In this meeting we discussed some questions that involved our first day at our apprenticeship position. My first day took place at Excel Fitness. It is a gym that trains clients that are in need of physical therapy or just getting fit. In my time there, I shadowed some of my co-workers while they trained clients. My responsibilities included sales, which means I encouraged customers to come back. Doing this has helped me to know that not every client is the same. They all have different needs, strengths, capabilities, and disabilities. I enjoyed the experience of working alongside co-workers and clients and how to help them be successful, like how to develop a workout guideline. I also learned in class today how to answer possible questions that may be asked by my employer at the workplace. I learned how to manage my work hours, I did so using a Jr. Apprentice log. This will help me with maintaining my organization skills. Overall I had a good first day at work and a productive class that was very informative.

1/23/2015 – Budgeting by Alexis McClendonIMG_31181780867566

Today, visitors from Capital Good Fund came to teach us about budgets. A budget is when you track your money so when you spend your money you make sure you still have some money left. They explained why budgeting is important because you don’t want to spend all your money in one day. They also asked how can we make budgeting fun? We can make it fun by creating saving goals, and competing against ourselves.

When you go out spending money, you should write down what you spent in your phone, notebook, or budget sheet to keep count. If we write down saying we spend $15 dollars on fast food, and we spend it on fast food, we can’t spend any more money on fast food. Also, in class we talked about our needs and our wants. Our needs are when we need something that is something unexpected or we need school notebooks, pencils, pens, or bookbags. Our wants are things we don’t need that but we want like I want these pair of Jordan’s or I want this North Face Jacket.

This will help me be successful because I will know how to spend my money and save my money. If I want something, I put money on the side until I get the right amount of money. This could help me in the future when I get money from my job, I can think ahead of time about something I want, then I can wait until I get paid and know if I have some money left still. It is a good time for me now to start a budget.

The new information will help me make future decision by making me think, how can I save my money? What I can do with the money to balance between stuff I need and want. Once I consider important stuff I need first I could use my money on that and then just take like $10 or $15 and put it to the side for things I want.

What I enjoyed most about class today was I learned something new that I haven’t known before: how we can spend our money without being broke. When I left class I was thinking about starting a budget. A budget sounds like a good Idea so I can keep track of my money .

1/19/2015 – The benefits of a bank account by Jimmy MoralesFullSizeRender

Today, in class we learned how to manage money and how to create a bank account. I learned that in a bank account, money is in safe hands. I also didn’t know that if you keep on saving money, the bank will will pay you just for saving your money (this is called interest). This will help me to be successful in life because I can keep on saving up until I go to college and pay for my classes and books or anything else I need. I also learned how important it is to save for a rainy day. We also talked about retirement planning.This information will come in handy in the future as it will help me make future decisions in my life. For example, say if I want to go to college and my mom and dad don’t have enough money for it, I may have some money already saved up. I also want to buy a car to get to places for work or for school or anything else like an interview for another job. Most important, money will help me to pay my bills.

The thing I enjoyed the most in class is that I got so much more information about how a bank account works and how it functions, and that there are people who can help you manage your money and invest your money to make some more money. I really did enjoy the meeting we had last class as it was really fun learning about the bank accounts and learning new terms.  One thing I  left class wondering was if we would get a debit card once we sign up with the bank. I’m really glad I joined this program.  It is a good start to my future. Thank you for bringing me into the program.

12/5/2014 – Mock interviews with professional advisors by Gabriel Hilario

Gabriel HeadshotHello my name is Gabriel Hilario and I am a Jr. Apprentice at Bulkeley High School. This week at Jr. Apprentice my peers and I underwent mock trial interviews where each student would present his/her “elevator speech”, as Dr. Silverstein calls, it to prepare for our final internship interviews. It was a very interpersonal experience where every student was seated with his/her own advisor. I was privileged to share my advisor with another student, which made for a more opportune experience to gain a different perspective. This allowed me to better assess how I present myself and how another peer of mine makes his presentation, which gave me a point of contact to compare and contrast my own presentation with his. Alongside the presentation, each student also presented his/her resumé. At the end of the mock interviews, the advisors would then give feedback on the presentations and address what was good or bad. The feedback contributed by my advisor really gave me insight on what additions I can make and what still needs improvement. Overall the feedback from my advisor motivated me and made me feel better prepared for my upcoming interviews.

11/28/2014 – Mock interviews by Zabdiel Hernandez Zabdiel

Today in class Dr.Silverstein introduced us to her boss and with his help she showed and explained to us what and what not to do in an interview. She demonstrated this in two different interviews.

In the first interview Dr.Silverstein showed us what not to do in an interview by first coming into the room and not introducing herself, not having having her resume on hand and during the interview she did not once look at her boss. To continue to tell what went wrong with that interview, during the interview when her boss was asking her questions, she had to think about it for a while and kept on saying “um”. Also when the interviewer asked her what was her greatest weaknesses she responded with “I’m really messy person”. Finally, what she did wrong during the interview was that she did not put her purse down, she kept it on her like she was ready to leave when she just got there and left without asking any questions for him.

During the second interview Dr. Silverstein showed everyone the right way to do an interview. She first came in and introduced herself and sat down. Then she handed in her resume and looked him in the eyes when he was talking. When he asked a question like “what would you like to do if I hired you?”, she answered with, “I would like to work with computers because I am good when it comes with computers”. After the questions were done he asked if she had any question for him and she did. She asked if there anything that he is looking for in a person interviewing for this job. As he was talking, she took out a notebook from her bag and started taking notes. Then afer she was done with her questions, she shook his hand and said thank you.

After they were done with their interviews, we paired up and practiced interviewing. This idea of pairing up was a good idea beacause it gave us a general idea of what an interview feels like, the nervousness we may feel and how trying to convince a person to hire you is very hard. Plus it also got us to know what other students’  skills were to see who we are competing with.

11/21/2014- Building my Brand and Network through LinkedIn by Grace Graham Grace

Today, the Connecticut Health Foundation’s digital media manager, Jenn Whinnem, led us in a workshop in which we discussed networking.

Before this class, Dr. Silverstein had already given us a general idea of what networking is: building up a professional contact list of mentors and possible employers. We Jr. Apprentices even had the opportunity to network with mentors during the 2014 Jr. Apprenticeship Celebration. However, today Ms. Whinnem planted us into the professional world by introducing us to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional online network that helps people connect with employers and other professionals through friends and existing connections. In other words, LinkedIn lets you use friends and existing contacts to create a stronger professional network.

So, of course, I was very excited to register for LinkedIn, and connect with Dr. Silverstein and Ms. Whinnem. I am hopeful that building strong connections on my LinkedIn account will lead me to the key contacts and give me the opportunity to pursue my dream job in filmmaking. Having the ability to meet 332 million members from over 200 countries on LinkedIn is sure to give me success in job-finding and networking. I plan on using LinkedIn frequently so I can take advantage of these opportunities.

Another term we discussed in class was “personal brands”. A personal brand is the positive reputation a person in the labor market needs in order to impress employers and qualify for jobs. For example, somebody with a bad personal brand is known for doing irresponsible, unprofessional things, whereas somebody with a good personal brand is known for being responsible and highly professional.

What I took away from this class is that it is important to network with people. Networking is more than just hitting “connect” on someone’s LinkedIn profile, it means building strong relationships with trust. I also learned the importance of maintaining a good brand name that accurately describes me as someone employers want to meet and want to get to know better. What I enjoyed the most was joining LinkedIn so that I could both network and form my personal brand.

11/14/2014 – Developing “my brand” by Raejon Gaines

Raejon copy

Today in class I learned about developing my brand for employers. Specifically, building a strong resume is important. After learning that resumes play a big part of finding a job/career, I realized how important it is for me to start building my resume early in my career because it will affect my future job prospects.

I also learned the importance of having a positive personal presence on social media. A social media profile can also play a role in finding a career because no matter how good your GPA is, or how strong your your resume looks to employers, the job you apply for can track you through social media and learn more about you through social media platforms. Because of this, it is important to maintain a social media profile that represents you in a good way to employers. If I, for example, had a profile picture showing me engaging in risky or immature behaviors, I would be giving employers a bad impression of myself.

I also learned about how to write a cover letter. I was taught that a cover letter is basically a letter that accompanies your resume in the job application process and gives a more detailed explanation of why you are applying for a job and what skills and experiences you can offer employers.

What I enjoyed most about today’s class was learning about the importance of social media profiles in the job application process. I never really thought that employers and interviewers would take a look at your social media information and I never realized how much it could help or even ruin your chances of getting the job you applied for. This makes me reflect on why some people who party all night, use street slang, dress inappropriately, and drink frequently find it hard to get good jobs. This encourages me to make responsible future decisions and present myself well to others and on social media.

10/31/2014 – Writing my resume by Eduardo Del Monte PicsArt_1414713663861

Today in class I learned how to write a resume that can be used for future job applications. We were taught that when building a resume, to include information about what high school and extracurricular activities we are involved in, what jobs we have previously worked, and what community service projects we have volunteered for.

I believe these resume writing lessons from Jr. Apprentice will help me succeed in the future by enabling me to build a strong resume for jobs I would like to apply for. A strong resume will increase my chances of getting hired and help me reach my career goals. Having my own job will make me responsible for my own future and will help me provide for myself and for my family. I look forward to using the skills I learned today when I start looking for jobs in the future.

Another thing I enjoyed about today’s class was learning how my classmates and I can make connections and help each other answer questions. With all of this new knowledge, I left class thinking about which career could really fit in with my overall goals. Thanks to Jr. Apprentice, Dr. Silverstein and many other mentors for accepting me in this great program!

10/24/2014 – Choosing the best fit by Andrea AwareAndrea

Today in class we learned about the importance of finding a good balance between interest, skill, and job outlook when finding a job or career. It is important that we find a job that we are interested in, have the skills to do it, and are able to rely on to pay our personal expenses. If we choose a job solely for the salary, our interest in it, or our skills, it will not be suitable for us and we will probably not be satisfied with that job.

Balancing our interest, skills, and job outlook when looking for a job can contribute to a successful career because it guides you to make smart decisions about the job or career you will choose. You will be sure that you are picking a good fit, if you choose a job that is balanced in all three areas.

In the future, being aware of this can help you find a job that best fits your personal interests, your skills, and the salary you wish to have. This is the type of job that you can be successful in and satisfied with. With this in mind, you will know to avoid choosing a job that only fits one of your interests.

During today’s class, I enjoyed learning how to make good job/career decisions for the future. The advice I was given will help me be successful and will help me feel more confident in my future decisions. I really appreciate lessons because I am not usually taught important advice such as this at school.

After gaining this helpful information, I left class already wondering what careers would be the most suitable for me. This made me wonder if the career that I thought would be perfect for me isn’t my only possible option. Now I feel more open minded about other possible careers and jobs.

10/17/2014 – Inspiration and helpful tips from local professionals by Danielle IMG_1610Allerdyce

We welcomed four panelists today: Representative Angel Arse, State Farm Agent John Pedraza, Hartford Courant reporter Kathy Megan and Policy Analyst Cara Passaro. State Farm representatives Travis Wattie and Arlene Lester were also present. From the panelists, I learned about key details in workplaces. Most workplaces rely on honesty, loyalty, trust and respect. I remember the panelists said to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, never let your mistakes hold you back and own up to your mistakes. They also told us to be willing to do anything with a positive attitude, and to not limit yourself just because people say you can’t do something. This will help me and other interns become successful because if we all push ourselves, it is possible to achieve what we want in life.

The panelists we had this week gave us similar tips as the panelists from last week. Both groups gave us very helpful tips from their own personal work experience. They told us to follow our dreams and goals never forget where we came from and when you make it, you should give back to your community. You should do something that was done for you, something you wish could have been done for you, or even something that was never done for you when you were a kid. Lessons such as this will help me make good future decisions because I know that I will have to start from the bottom to actually get to where I want to be. Even though I know it will take time, I should never give up on what I want. This will also help because I know that it is best to do something that I want to do, love, and enjoy. This reminds me that I should not go for a job just because of the amount of money it makes because I may be miserable getting up for work. I enjoyed all the different advice we were told, especially from the panelists that came from the same area and had similar lifestyles as us growing up. It showed me that nothing held them back and no matter what and it is always possible to be successful.

10/9/2014 – Discovering our Work Environment Priorities by Amber Smith Amber

In today’s class we discussed an article called “Pearls of Career Wisdom, Found in the Trash”. When I first read the title, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I took it literally. Originally I assumed that someone actually threw away some career plans that were later found in the trash. However this article was actually about Michael Cascio, a business owner and television executive’s time as a janitor. Being a janitor was his first job and he reflected on how much he learned during this time. Like for instance some basics of employment such as showing up on time everyday. This excerpt from the article sums it up pretty well, “You have to appreciate everyone who works around you. You should acknowledge-and learn to deal with-the pecking order in the working world. You have to exert yourself in ways you may not have learned in school. And often have to do things that have nothing-and everything-to do with your career and your life ahead.” This really spoke to me.

When we talked about the article and about what kind of work environment I wanted to be in, one thought came to mind…not a janitor. I respect that they’re able to do that but I couldn’t do something that…physically exhausting. But I feel like its good that I’m figuring out what I don’t want to do now so I can more easily find out what really want to do.

This article reminded me of an experience I had similar to the one of Michael Cascio. My dad is a general manager in a fast food restaurant. One day over the summer he was short staffed in one of the restaurants so I offered to help out. At the time I thought it was going to be cake… anyone could do it right? How wrong I was. The “fast” in fast food is not taken lightly and do you know how many burger combinations you have to memorize? It was a very long frustrating day and ever since then I never got upset when someone messed up my order. If anything I want to congratulate them for working there for more than one single day.

In class, we used this article to think about our work environment preference. We had to answer a series of questions that helped us make some decisions. For example, would I rather work outdoors or inside? Travel the world or stay in the states?

From answering these questions, I realized that I had a work environment preference, something I’ve never realized before. I found it is really important to me to have a career that involves using my imagination at a company that cares about the community. It is really interesting how almost all the people in the class had different priorities toward what was important in a work environment and what was not. So even though this class didn’t help me realize that I always wanted to be a janitor, it did teach me something valuable. In life you won’t enjoy all the work you do but that doesn’t give you an excuse not to work hard on everything you do. Do not think that any work is below you, everything requires your full effort. Also you mustn’t have prejudice toward those who have a job that you believe isn’t worth acknowledging. I would never sneer in the direction of someone who is doing such hard work, not now or in the future. I hope I have the opportunity to pursue careers with the priorities I discovered are the best fit for me. Never could I ever do something like being a janitor. But I hope to discover the career I really want to pursue in the future and I have a feeling that Jr. Apprentice will help me find it.