During this presentation, Thomas College students and Bangor Savings Bank staff will share their experience with a new initiative at Thomas College – The President’s Innovation Challenge. The challenge serves as a way to engage students in career and professional development, and provides them with support and guidance as they use design thinking to tackle an authentic, real-world problem posed to them by an employer or partner organization. Students meet with the employer/partner regularly, develop innovative solutions, get valuable feedback, and, at the end of the semester, pitch the employer/partner on their big ideas. This is a real-world experience for students that they can add to their resumes and portfolios. It shows employers/partners how they can apply what they have learned in College to solve problems faced in industry, and builds the confidence of students such that they can articulate how these skills and experiences make them more employable.
YOUTH FOCUS / FUTURE SUCCESS
Apex Youth Connection has become a regional incubator in demonstrating the power of relationships to create personal, group, and organizational transformation. Apex's job readiness program is a small business run entirely by youth - a very real work environment in which to learn the critical skills they need in the workplace. This session gives you a window into this youth-led experience from the youth leading it: from basic mechanics, to honoring relationships, to equity in the workplace.
YOUTH FOCUS / FUTURE SUCCESS
A key component of the Aspirations Incubator model for raising youth aspirations in rural Maine is developing student leadership and resiliency skills by embedding a practice of engaging student voice and choice in program design and activities. Hear from 2 high school students about how applying the skills and experience they have gained from four years in their Aspirations Incubator program has created opportunities to see themselves as leaders and to be seen and valued in their schools and communities in new leadership roles. Also, learn from the Trekkers Training Institute about effective strategies your teams can take for engaging middle school and high school youth.
Teaching the Genome Generation is a multi-disciplinary high school curriculum that engages students in a lab-based introduction to modern genomics. A goal of TtGG is to celebrate human diversity through building understanding of our shared genomic story. In partnership with The Jackson Laboratory, high school teachers engage students in hands-on labs that demonstrate human genetic diversity, computer-based mathematical and bioinformatic exercises that introduce students to genomic data, and interactive classroom discussions on the ethical use of genomic information in society (law enforcement, family planning, genetic engineering, etc.). The curriculum is highly adaptable, aligned to standards, and is used widely in Maine in classes ranging from introductory biology, life science electives, and AP classes. Learn how Maine County Teachers of the Year have partnered with JAX to engage diverse learners in genomics through Teaching the Genome Generation.
In addition to offering a career path and the problem-solving skills necessary to developing a strong and creative workforce throughout the state of Maine, learning in the arts, in encouraging students to trust their own ideas and respect those of others, gives arts students the capacity to make a positive social difference in their school communities. Working with exemplary young arts advocates from around the state, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education is forming Student Arts Advocacy teams in Maine high schools to help arts students develop their leadership potential and the opportunity to make a difference. Meet some of the student advocates helping to train student team leaders, now in some 30 Mane high schools, and learn how you can bring this initiative into your school - even if you're not involved in the arts yourself.
EARLY CHILDHOOD / POLICY
High quality, affordable, and accessible child care is essential to the growth of our economy. Working parents depend on a strong child care system in order to participate in the workforce. During the pandemic, many Maine families had to transition out of the workforce to care for their children. In this session, participants will hear from a variety of employers who have initiated new programs and partnered with local organizations to help address the child care crisis. From parent friendly policies to joining local child care coalitions to advocating for child care with policymakers and the press, participants will gain new ideas during this session to bring back to their employers.
CTE / Future Success
We have known for years that one of the barriers to increasing access to CTE programming for students is just that - increasing access! For too long students have had to wait until Junior/Senior year to be exposed to and experience the incredible educational opportunities offered by our CTE schools. Join Gorham Middle School Students, Gorham Middle School Staff, and Westbrook Regional Vocational Center Staff in hearing about the new "Tech Start Program" that allows 8th graders from Westbrook Middle School and Gorham Middle School to experience the excitement of CTE programming in the 8th grade!
Mental illness is the big elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about but everyone should as the youth suicide rate in Maine continues to rise and more young people are impacted by mental health. In this workshop we will share how hope happens when youth and community members work together to smash the stigma around mental illness. Generation Z is on fire and are the mountain movers that are bringing this change to schools and communities across the state. In this workshop presented by The Yellow Tulip Project, we will share our roadmap for action and community building and how young people are using their voices for change.