Career Readiness Creates Access to the Job Market

By: Thom Fox, Business and Employment Director

18 Degrees’ new Business and Employment Unit of Pittsfield Community Connection has launched its first 16-week Career Readiness program, introducing young people to the world of work, money, and life, helping to build a positive experience for their future.  The Business and Employment Unit was established in October of 2020 with the Mission to Prepare, and introduce, youth influenced by adverse life-circumstances to meaningful career pathways. This program’s launch is one step along that journey.

Our Career Readiness’ Foundational Skills training is led by former Kids for Harmony Teaching Artist Donald Padrick.  Throughout the 16-week training, participants will engage in a curriculum to build a successful career foundation.  Training modules include subjects such as social skills, effective communication, problem solving, growth and development, and diversity and inclusion. Students will also participate in behavior and skills assessments to help them identify careers in which they may find the greatest fulfillment and success based on their inherent passions and gifts.

Upon completion of Foundational Skills training, the Business and Employment Unit will work to connect graduates to employment opportunities. This program aims to improve the economic and life outcomes of young people, which will be achieved through what we are calling Partnered Employment. Within this employment model, our staff supports the young person as an extension of a business’s human resources department.   The staff will help acclimate the graduate into the organization and ensure they are developing in their new role. Through this approach, we create the conditions for young people’s success and enhance community partnerships by connecting businesses with untapped talent – a win-win for everyone involved.

Our first cohort of seven participants are full of energy and drive to find meaningful employment.   If you would like to know more about hiring 18 Degrees’ Career Readiness Graduates, please contact our Business and Employment Director, Thom Fox at to learn more.