Graduating Into Success with S.T.R.E.A.M. Glocal Inovations
S.T.R.E.A.M. Global Innovations is at the forefront of connecting the dots between education and career. Over the past five years, this non-profit organization has traveled the nation to ensure that children from all walks of life can own their career possibilities.
In their most recent endeavor, STREAM launched a pilot Student Ambassador program that offers a different approach in shaping young minds. The SGI (STREAM Global Innovations) Student Ambassador Program, provided approximately 30 students the opportunity to learn professional development skills inspired by conversations with industry leaders.
Co-founders of the non-profit, Niamani Knight and Nikia Richards wanted to create a space that prepared students for a better future. “After many conversations with industry partners, we noticed that students weren’t connecting the dots between education and career. Many were entering the workforce without basic professional development skills, so we wanted to create a platform that taught them these things,” stated Niamani. The SGI Student Ambassador Program partnered with American Job Center (AJCC) to teach those essential resources to students and AMS Fulfillment as the hosting location. During the 4-week program, students from Santa Clarita, and beyond were provided this opportunity. Without a focus specific to academic performance, participating students were selected based on their application and potential from AJCC. “We feel when you base selections solely on grades you discount all the possibilities and points of view that come from diversity,” Niamani stated.
Students attended class biweekly with the first half taught by AJCC. During this portion, students obtained job readiness skills required for short and long-term success. The second half of the week was industry-led from organizations such as the California Highway Patrol, Amazon, California Bank and Trust, Business Coach, Roger Doumanian, and PPG’s Sylmar and Valencia sites. Here, students learned about the company experience. For instance, in the first week, California Highway Patrol(CHP) spoke about maintaining the right image and how choices now can affect you in the long run. “Some of the discussions were so profound to me, like when Officer Leon Hines from CHP spoke about owning your future and not allowing the toughness of today to cloud your judgment,” commented Nikia.
During Amazon week students from non-coding backgrounds learned about product development, coding, and engineering.
In true STREAM fashion, each week presented an underlying emphasis on entrepreneurship. “We strongly believe that owning your success is key; when you work for a company or self, you should enter the position, asking yourself, what value can I add to the role. ‘I am a brand, and I have the choice to choose how I show up daily,’” said Nikia. From leadership to credit management, taught by California Bank and Trust, each student could take vital information that would set them on a path to success.
As a STREAM supporter, PPG added a treat for students with site tours and a lunch with the leadership team. Students got the chance to see all aspects of the PPG operation and were utterly blown away by technology and innovation.
The four-week program concluded with local business professionals (Billy Gomez, Dezi Arellano, Osiris Pastor, Sue Arellano, and Quan Gan) sharing their career journeys. “Our goal has always been to create something so kids can see that they have a community championing their success,” Nikia stated.
Each class was kept small intentionally. It allowed students the opportunity to get the most out of their time with the professionals. “This was a non-judgemental space; which was created to help develop and learn new skills,” Niamani commented. The program ended with a trip to Macy’s where students were professionally styled and taught business etiquette by Macy’s Manager, Michael Luz, and Stylist, Tricia Browne-Miller for the end of class celebration hosted by the Hyatt Hotel and sponsored by SoCal Gas. The Student Ambassadors are now entering the final phase by giving back through volunteer work and being placed in worksites to apply the skills and utilize the tools they have learned.
Niamani and Nikia closed with, “We look forward to next year’s program and hope to expand even further with more industries and students.”
For more information on how you can be a part of the program, please visit the STREAM website: streamglobal.org.
photos by Joie de Vivre photographie
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