When 33 high school students began the Elk Grove Civic Summer program in June 2019, many were too shy to start a conversation.
A few weeks later, the rising juniors and seniors from Elk Grove Unified School District (Sacramento County, California) found themselves talking confidently with each other – and with state and local politicians.
What happened in between? The students, who attend eight different career academies inside high schools across the district, received hands-on networking practice through the Emerge online program.
The program, which offers a variety of real-world communication skills activities and instructional videos for email writing, networking, resumes, phone calls and more, taught the students how to shake hands, look people in the eyes and hold meaningful conversation.
“Rubin Education gave my students a level of poise they didn’t even know they had,” said Carlos Garcia, the Elk Grove teacher who oversees Civic Summer, a six-week program designed to introduce students to local government and careers in public service.
The students practiced face-to-face networking through a Rubin Education activity in which students pair off and learn to ask each other meaningful questions. In doing so, the student who asks the questions takes a deeper interest in the other person’s background and interests.
Then, students applied the same strategy with U.S. Representative Ami Bera (who represents the 7th congressional district which includes Sacramento) and members of Sacramento City Council. The elected officials were impressed at how well the students could pose questions and keep a discussion.
“Rubin Education was the perfect resource to help our students learn critical employability skills like listening and engaging with others to form relationships,” said Garcia.