United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

April 19, 2017

These 3 companies go the extra mile to mentor and engage youth

There are many companies who understand the importance of supporting the next generation and building our future workforce. They invest in programs that foster youth leadership, provide opportunities for mentoring, or offer youth summer jobs.

And when over two-thirds of Massachusetts employers report difficulty in finding employees with the right skills, we need these efforts more than ever.

Here are three companies that have gone above and beyond this year to mentor and engage students in their future career potential – and ways you can too.

BYNDER

“Could you explain your tech job to a middle schooler?”

That’s what local tech company Bynder asked its employees earlier this year when they hosted a group of 7th and 8th graders from Boston’s Timilty School as part of United Way’s BoSTEM initiative. Bynder is a tech company that offers “digital asset management” software. Sounds complicated, right? Well, you’d be surprised how quickly these young people started to understand and get excited about the concept.

“The goal of our day was straightforward but by no means easy: show the students a few things about Bynder, in a way they could not only understand, but that might excite them and pique their imaginations,” said Brian Kavanaugh, Marketing and Content Coordinator at Bynder.

They did that by breaking down the work among small groups, with activities focused on sales and marketing, product development and innovation, and finance. And they used fun, interactive examples that got students quickly engaged.

The students used Spotify, Justin Beiber and Beyonce to learn about taxonomy, developed ideas for a new video game remote control, and were soon challenging executives on their sales pitches.

“We would absolutely recommend this program to other companies in the area; it’s a great way to step outside of your particular bubble and have some fun with young minds that could very well be tomorrow’s tech superstars,” said Kavanaugh.

Read more about Bynder’s BoSTEM experience in their blog post.

HUBSPOT

Hubspot youth mentoring

What young entrepreneur wouldn’t get inspired by spending the day in a cool startup office space?

Thanks to hot local marketing company Hubspot, who will host one of our Youth Venture consulting conferences at their office in May, a number of young people in our social entrepreneurship program will have that unique opportunity.

Beyond seeing the perks of hip office spaces, students will be inspired by the startup mentality of creativity, innovation and collaboration, meeting with volunteer “consultants” who will help the Youth Venture teams as they work to implement the social ventures they launched this year – including youth-focused podcasts, a tourism business that gives educational walking tours, and even a knitting business.

Hubspot has also championed the Youth Venture program as the lead sponsor of the FIGHT UNITED fundraiser that raised over $30,000 for the program this year. More than 20 Hubspot employees participated in the fundraiser and several more regularly volunteer as at Youth Venture events throughout the year.

To learn more about Youth Venture click here.

BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

BCG youth mentoring

Mentoring doesn’t have to be one on one. This year, Boston Consulting Group was our first corporate partner to host regular “group mentoring” sessions with our Youth Venture teams. They also created and presented a custom “Markets & Marketing” workshop at the Youth Venture Professional Development Summit – helping teams understand the basics of marketing and how that relates to their own unique business ideas.  From there, the teams prepared business plans with the help of their BCG mentors and went on to successfully pitch for $1,000 in seed funding to launch their ventures.

These collaborations provide students with valuable professional interactions and career skills, along with a real-life glimpse into a future career. And volunteers and employers get the chance to look at their work in a fun new way – through the eyes of the next generation.

Join us at the Youth Venture End of Year Showcase on Monday, June 5th at District Hall to celebrate all that our Youth Venture teams and mentors have accomplished this year.