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Recap: National Career Development Month Kickoff

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November is National Career Development Month! Here at The DeBruce Foundation, there was no better way for us to start the month than with our kickoff on November 2nd.  

We unveiled key findings from two national research studies: one on Employment Empowerment and another on how youth view their future careers. And, we introduced our new and improved Career Explorer Tools. We also heard from some of our amazing partners spearheading workforce development. 

We began the kickoff with our emcee, Olympic legend and founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Her foundation is predicated on its mission of instilling youth in the Greater East Saint Louis area with the dream, drive, and determination necessary to Win at Life. This mission connects seamlessly with our work at The DeBruce Foundation as we strive to give individuals the tools they need to become employment empowered and expand their pathways to economic growth and opportunity.  

Unveiling key research findings:

Our very own Executive Director and COO, Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, unveiled groundbreaking findings from our recent Employment Empowerment Study, “Start Early, Succeed Sooner: Insights from the 2023 Employment Empowerment Study.” 

She shared how Network Strength accelerates the power of Career Literacy for all working-age Americans. Additionally, she shared the importance of Employment Empowerment alongside an astounding finding: 2 in 3 working-age Americans are not employment empowered. Furthermore, people who focus on building Career Literacy and Network connections from an early age are far more likely to become employment empowered than those who start later in life. If we start earlier, we can succeed sooner! 

You can learn more about these findings by reading the full report, Start Early, Succeed Sooner: Insights from the 2023 Employment Empowerment Study

Dr. Taylor Knight unveiled The DeBruce Foundation’s extensive research on youth titled, “How to Talk with Youth About Careers.” The findings indicate an astonishing 90 percent of those surveyed believe they can achieve their career goals. However, only 32% of the young people surveyed have actively explored career information online.  

You can access these findings and practical tips for guiding young people by reading the report, How to Talk with Youth About Careers

New and improved Career Explorer Tools:

During the kickoff, we also found out how can we meet these individuals where they are and help them expand their pathways to economic growth and opportunity. One way is through our new and improved suite of Career Explorer Tools!  

“The Career Explorer Tools provide intuitive ways to search for information on hundreds of occupations to win at life. The Agile Work Profiler, in combination with these tools, gives individuals confidence about their value in the career marketplace and helps them become employment empowered. They are helpful to partner organizations who care about expanding career pathways.” – Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight 

And there you have it – another key way to guide these individuals: through the work with our amazing partners! 

The impact of our partners:

At the kickoff, we heard from Lee Waldvogel, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at American Student Assistance (ASA). He discussed the importance of providing and utilizing innovative tools such as ASA’s EvolveMe as well as The DeBruce Foundation’s Agile Work Profiler. Through this partnership, the impact has been tremendous:  

“We are super excited that in our work with The DeBruce Foundation through EvolveMe that over 10,000 kids have completed the AWP and the good news is, it’s just the start.” – Lee Waldvogel 

The kickoff also featured Suja Joseph, Director of Statewide Reemployment Programs at The Maryland Department of Labor. While touching on the amazing reemployment work that The Maryland Department of Labor does, Joseph described the importance of confidence for job seekers:  

“We try to remind them that your job went away, but your skills didn’t.”  

By implementing statewide Agilities workshops, Joseph noted: 

“We noticed that job seekers were breaking free of limiting beliefs. We noticed an increase in confidence that comes from knowing that they bring value.”  

Through Agilities resources, individuals can better communicate their value and expand their career pathways and confidence! 

Brett Kisker, Executive Director of Northland CAPS, expressed other ways the Agilities resources are impacting individuals, specifically youth: 

“It helps our students build self-awareness. 52% of the kids in my program will come through and change their mind about what they want to be through an experience that they had or through the Agile Work Profiler…” 

We also learned more about this impact through the firsthand experience of Chelsea, one of Kisker’s students, as she highlighted the importance of utilizing Agilities resources for resume-building: 

“These tools and learning my Agilities, such as my Serving and Caring Agility or my Developing Others Agility, has really transformed my resume into something that highlighted what I have done and the basic outline of all my experiences and turned it into something more personal.” 

Chelsea emphasized that by using her Agilities in her resume, she can describe what she enjoys doing just as much as what she is good at, propelling her toward future career success.  

The DeBruce Foundation’s National Career Development Month Kickoff was a success! We unveiled our extensive research and heard from our trailblazing partners in the workforce development field, who expressed how the Agilities resources inspire confidence and help individuals communicate their values, interests, and skills! We learned how we can ultimately bridge the gap from individuals to industry. 

We highly encourage you to watch the full webinar, read our two new research reports, and explore the Agilities resources on our website

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