Preparing for the Future
At Hyde Square Task Force, we recognize our responsibility to help young people become contributing members of civil society. A part of that work is preparing youth to be able to successfully enter into a continually evolving workforce and economy when they leave HSTF. This includes an ongoing job readiness and workforce development curriculum, as well as a rigorous college-preparation pipeline.
Job Readiness and Workforce Development
All the youth in our Youth Community Development Programs receive a biweekly stipend for their work. With it, they learn valuable lessons about work and meeting expectations. We prepare youth to succeed academically now and prepare them for employment. We teach 21st-century skills. From arriving on time to being a team player, youth understand the attributes of a responsible colleague.
We partner with some of Boston’s largest employers, including world-class hospitals and international law firms. On a regular basis, employees of these private companies invite youth to visit their workplace. These professionals spend countless hours helping youth with resumes, interviewing skills, and they share their personal experiences. Some companies offer summer internships. Our youth have interned at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Boston Public Health Commission, Putnam Investments, and Wilmer Hale LLP.
College Preparation Pipeline
We believe educational success is key to active citizenship. For over a decade, the Paths to College and Careers Program (PCCP) has promoted long-term success of youth by serving more than 300 high school and college youth each year. Youth participate in up to eight years of curricula through workshops and one-on-one support. Participants in 9th through 11th grade benefit from up to three years of planning for and exposure to college and careers in our College Exploration Mentoring Program (CEMP). They have the opportunity to experience college and career options firsthand alongside their mentors, while exploring their own interests, learning to navigate and manage their personal and school lives, and developing realistic plans to reach goals. During senior year, the College Bound Mentoring Program (CBMP) engages youth in one-on-one relationships with volunteers who act as role models, teachers, and friends. Through weekly mentoring sessions, youth receive support on all aspects of the college application process, including researching and visiting colleges, completing applications and essays, submitting financial aid and scholarship applications, understanding acceptance and award letters, and ultimately making a final decision.
PCCP also supports graduates through college graduation with our College Success program, a part of the citywide Success Boston initiative. Starting in the summer before their first year of college, youth participate in a Summer Academy with workshops on different aspects of their transition to college, as well as one-on-one coaching to ensure that they are prepared for their first day on campus in September. Our coaches then provide one-on-one coaching throughout their time in college, both at our Youth Community Development Center, and on-site at a number of our partner colleges such as UMass Boston and Bunker Hill Community College. Coaches help youth troubleshoot issues that may arise, strategize ways to balance work with academics, teach youth how to advocate for themselves on their campus, and often serve as a supportive and friendly presence in a new and overwhelming environment.
PCCP engages multiple stakeholders—parents, teachers and guidance counselors, and higher-education partners– to ensure support through the multi-year pipeline.
PCCP targets disadvantaged Boston Public High School students, many of whom are academically disengaged and in need of positive support and re-enforcement. HSTF teens reflect the population of Hyde/Jackson Square, which is predominantly low-income Latino and African-American. Many of our youth enter our programs with a C average or below in school, and either they or their families immigrated here from the Caribbean or Africa. 81% of the college students we work with are first generation.