On December 10th, many PYD youth from East Boston, Charlestown, and Madison Park Vocational High School successfully put on our annual Trade Show at State Street’s Iron Street location. We partner with State Street twice per year as they graciously host both our winter and spring trade shows.
This event is organized by our Career Readiness Program and it allows students to utilize everything they have learned from our curriculum, putting their new skills and knowledge into the real world. Youth are hard at work year-round learning job-readiness skills and designing everything from frames, mugs, ornaments, snow globes, and more to get their items ready to sell in time for the show.
Our Career Readiness curriculum plays a huge role in the function of the trade show. Staff spend time teaching students our comprehensive 36-unit curriculum which covers professional communication, resumes, interviews, entrepreneurship, self-advocacy, stress management in the workplace, and financial literacy that aids students in pricing items and understanding profits.
The content also includes a unique self-care unit emphasizing stress management, self advocacy, and disability disclosure, which teaches youth about finding the best work environment for each individual.
“It covers everything to prepare for independent living and hopefully future employment,” said our Career Readiness Director Lindsay Alperin.
Once all the items are made and students learn everything there is about career readiness, it is time to put their skills to work.
Students get the opportunity to practice everything they’ve learned about professional communication and greetings by making eye contact and shaking hands with business professionals from State Street. They additionally get to rotate between a variation of customer service related roles like mingling, selling items, being cashiers, and selling raffle tickets.
Each role is designed to give youth experience and skills that remain transferable to a future internship or job where staff is not nearby to help them along.
“The Trade Show gives students hands on, real world learning experience where students get to apply the skills they learn in the classroom,” states Lindsay.
Donasia, an East Boston High School student expressed that she liked being at the Trade Show the most out of this school year because she got to see all the crafts her and her classmates created.
Although it was a lot of work, Donasia said she had fun making Christmas cards at school with Neda, our Career Readiness Coordinator that works directly in the classrooms of the Boston Public Schools.
Her favorite things that she learned were how to decorate the Christmas mugs because she loves to be creative.
Another East Boston High School student, Devandre, is in the ninth grade. It was his first year participating in the Trade Show.
“My favorite part about today (the Trade Show) is dealing with the money,” said Devandre.
He said the most memorable part of Career Readiness class with Neda was learning about jobs. Devandre plays basketball for East Boston High School and his dream job is to play professionally in the NBA.
Lindsay finds the trade show very rewarding, and says her favorite memory is getting the privilege to see each student use the skills they learn through our program.
“I’d say the most rewarding thing is getting to see the students apply the skills that they learn in the classroom, whether that be shaking somebody’s hand for a professional greeting, or interacting at the trade show with an employee from State Street who they may have never met before. Seeing them apply the skills that they learned is definitely the most rewarding part for me and having fun while they’re doing it,” said Lindsay.
If you would like to learn more about our Career Readiness Program, click this link: https://www.pyd.org/programs/career-readiness/