The Future Founders Foundation, a non-profit organization that expands entrepreneurship and career exploration programs for low income students, re-launched its Connect to the Future program through a new partnership with Accenture and the CME Group Foundation.
Through this partnership, Connect to the Future will offer students a new interactive college and career readiness curriculum, “Pathway to Careers,” that was developed in conjunction with Accenture. The program will also include new school partnerships forged through the CME Group Foundation and Accenture.
“We are working with our partners, like Accenture and the CME Group Foundation, to nurture the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Scott Issen, CEO of Future Founders Foundation.
“Our new model and partnerships for Connect to the Future give teens the opportunity to explore careers and develop skill sets to help them succeed in college and in the workplace, specifically in science, technology, engineering and math areas.”
Launched in 2006 by Lightbank Co-Founder Brad Keywell, Connect to the Future is a program that connects middle and high school students with mentors to help them explore various career opportunities and develop skills for success. Through a series of in-person, highly interactive experiences in which professionals visit classrooms throughout the school year, students will be able to identify a career they want to pursue, enhance their current knowledge, skills and abilities, and create an action plan to help them achieve their college and career goals.
“Seeing examples of success, and understanding career options through interaction with a diverse set of professionals in different fields, is an essential part of preparing young men and women to take charge of their own economic destiny,” said Keywell. “By visiting classrooms and telling students the stories of the pathways of their careers, business executives and entrepreneurs can give back to the community in a very important way. Connecting the purpose of an education to an ultimate career, and inspiring students to work hard in school by allowing them to visualize their path to success, is the goal of Connect to the Future – we help students achieve success by introducing them to examples of what success looks like.”
Students that participate in the program have the opportunity to learn best practices during various in-class sessions including teamwork skills, technology and social media, resume writing, interviewing, networking, professionalism and work ethics, presentation skills, and entrepreneurship.
Accenture provided funding to the Connect to the Future program through a grant as part of the company’s Skills to Succeed initiative, which will equip 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.
“Mentoring students and helping them develop college, career and life skills is instrumental in preparing them for success and to build productive lives within their communities,” said Mark Anderson, Director, US Local Markets and Chicago, Accenture. “By teaming with the Future Founders Foundation, we are helping these students gain skills and define career paths that can enable them to pursue employment and better contribute to our local economy.”
For the 2012-13 school year, the program will reach over 500 students in 8th-12th grades on the South and West Sides of Chicago. School partnerships include Alain Locke Charter School, Catalyst Charter School – Circle Rock, Catalyst Charter School – Howland, Chicago International Charter School – Wrightwood, Chicago Tech Academy, EPIC Academy, James Otis Elementary School, and Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy.
“By exposing students to new career options and helping them refine their professional skills, we will empower the next great generation of business executives and entrepreneurs,” said Howard Siegel, Chairman, CME Group Foundation. “Connect to the Future is a great compliment to what the students already learn in the classroom and provides them with real life experience from local business professionals.”
Since the program’s inception, 1,425 students have been able to connect with mentors for career exploration. Over 90% of the student population served qualifies for free or reduced lunch and approximately 80% of the students are African American, while the rest are of Latino origin.
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