The World of Work (known as W.O.W.) extracurricular, after school activity, is the longest running at Woodward Academy and provides students a career building curriculum that will help them not only obtain a job, but to keep it. Joel Porter, WA Treatment Operations Coordinator has organized W.O.W. for over a year and fully understands that a career building after school activity lacks some of the appeal that other activities have. “Most of them [the students] typically start out being unhappy to be in W.O.W., but I try to make it fun for them. I try to keep things laid back and allow the students to guide the direction of our discussions. After it’s over, they almost always say it was their favorite because of how helpful it was for them.
World of Work follows the same 8-week schedule that other extracurricular activites follow. Porter has developed a curriculum that focuses on soft skills such as teamwork, communication, attitude, networking, professionalism, problem solving, and critical thinking. He believes that “the lack of skills like these is what contributed to many of our students being placed with us,” and that taking a course like this can equip students moving forward.
The majority of students who take the W.O.W. class have little to no work experience, but are typically older (16-18 years old), and more mature, making the content immediately applicable. “All of the soft skills we discuss are familiar to them (aside from networking), but they have never really thought of them from the perspective of how these skills can help them in the workplace.” Porter stresses that these skills are what employers are looking for when hiring, especially candidates with not a lot of work experience.
Beyond the soft skills development, the class also accomplishes a number of concrete tasks that include setting up an appropriate email account, building a resume, and practice filling out job applications. Over the past year, Porter has included several guest speakers as regular additions to the curriculum that
include discussions about Job Corps and other post-secondary options.
For the first time, Porter co-taught the W.O.W. extracurricular with Educational Liaison Aric Rush. As someone who helps students transition away from Woodward Academy, he was as a natural candidate to help with post-secondary options. His portion of the class included discussions about testing (ACT, Compass, etc.), filling out FAFSA forms, how to navigate a college website, and other aspects of post-secondary life such as campus housing, tuition, and the overall college experience. At the end of the course, students participate in mock interviews and receive a certificate of completion. The course is always a huge success and a great starting point for students moving on to the next stage of their life.GO KNIGHTS!