By Stacy Woodruff, Director of the Field Building Hub at Workforce Professionals Training Institute
The NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) hosted its first ever Young Professionals Mixer on July 31, drawing more than 100 young adults for an afternoon of networking, primers on building social capital, and multiple opportunities to practice one’s “elevator pitch”. Twenty volunteers from a variety of sectors engaged with youth participants in large and small group settings, sharing insights from their own career paths and advice for young job seekers. The event concluded with a panel comprised of four of the volunteers (see photo), who discussed their professional journeys, including missteps, the role of social networks in career pathways, and thoughts on what types are skills are necessary for job seekers at any level.
As a volunteer professional, I spoke with approximately 25 young adults in groups and individually throughout the course of the afternoon. I was struck by the ambition, drive, and desire to give back to one’s community through work and career. One young man, early in our speed networking connection, commented on my left handedness, a trait we shared and also a characteristic I tend to notice and comment upon. We sought one another out during a break, where he proceeded to describe how he wants to combine his passion for his community, skateboarding, and music, and sees a degree in business as the foundation for achieving those goals. He made me laugh, spoke with conviction, asked insightful and tough questions, and left me even more convinced of the need to ensure young adults from all backgrounds have access to the social and professional networks that are critical to building a career path with continual room for growth.
HRA plans to host additional networking and professional skill building events for young adults.