Outreach is such a key component of what we do as Regional Directors of Employer Engagement. Yet, how do you reach students effectively during a pandemic? Especially in these RHT industries that are so impacted by it.
Typically, we engage our employer contacts and connect to our students, programs and faculty to help facilitate work-based-learning opportunities. We also work closely with our K-12 partners to promote our CCC programs. But, there are significant limitations in doing this remotely.
With the intention of showing how CCC programs in Culinary, Hospitality and Tourism can lead to several interesting and dynamic career options; and, with the help of a great team at Quartermain Media, Bay Area RD, Audrey Le Baudour commissioned a film project. As her colleague and Orange County RD, I was fortunate to enter into this creative, collaborative process to help her produce the short film…Evolve.
So how best to tell a story? Show, not tell. We found that giving those who have had a chance to live, study, work, and sometimes struggle, a forum to convey their stories, to be far more impactful than a PowerPoint presentation.
In presenting common experiences and unique paths—maybe an aspiring HS student or an adult at a crossroads may see a little of themselves in the story tellers and in their stories.
And, just maybe they would find their own way to explore an opportunity, earn a certificate or degree at a California Community College, try out a new career path, learn more about themselves and, ultimately, to Evolve.
You’ll hear several authentic voices recounting their own stories in their own words. Hollie Fortkamp begins the conversation from the viewpoint of a culinary instructor. Kyla Lam and Haroon Zubair offer their stories through the international and first to attend college lens. Sonya Lamas, executive with the Hyatt Group, intimately shares her story as a very young single mother, knowing she needed to provide for her son, but also seeking a field in which she could blossom.
Jared Giammona shares his path from leader on the basketball court to tourism entrepreneur. Lastly, Juan Hernandez provides high school students a glimpse into the life of a dual-enrollment student. Collectively, they represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences, talents and narratives.
Throughout the film we’ve asked — Where are you Going? And what will the rest of your story be? Impressing upon those who watch the film that the California Community Colleges can help them take that next step forward.
In reflecting on the early positive reviews from students and faculty, Audrey Le Baudour said, “We’ve already had a number of students who have engaged in furthering the conversation with their instructors to pursue coursework in the culinary, hospitality and tourism sectors.”
Interestingly enough, when we entered into this project, we had certain ideas. Then, we had to grow and adapt as storytellers and workforce development professionals. We learned so much–and can honestly say, the entire process helped us to Evolve in the way we do our work.