On Tuesday, September 17, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and the Schultz Family Foundation with the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus briefing “Workplace Ready: The Value of Mentoring in Improving Performance,” featured speakers to discussed the impact of workforce mentoring on young employees, companies and community partners.

Speakers included Kelly Pavich from the Marriott Foundation, Christian Black from Youth Guidance, Eileen Yang from Genentech, Brenda Jimenez from MENTOR New York, Ellen Gardner from Schultz Family Foundation, and moderated by Elizabeth Santiago from MENTOR.

The panel discussed how workplace mentoring for youth and young adults has increased across the nation for a variety of reasons, from building talent pipelines to supporting onboarding, fostering employee engagement, satisfaction and increasing retention. Genetech supports the STEM career pathway with elementary-aged students to high school students with experiential opportunities and college scholarships in the Bay Area. The Schultz Family Foundation supports veterans and opportunity youth through building coalition partners of nationwide employers. The Marriott Foundation has twelve training sites across the country working with youth 17 to 24 year olds with disabilities.

Mr. Christian discussed the challenges and opportunities of being a recipient of his local mentoring organization Project Blue and Youth Guidance, highlighting the experience with his mentor and how they invested in him personally and professionally. In addition, he discussed the need for the workforce to “be more inviting,” in reference to professional feedback and performance. The panelist remarked that a challenge they face is recruiting mentees, having a single point of contact for employers, and setting up opportunities for mentoring. Genetech remarked that they have a waitlist of mentors and their program is a 1mentor to 2 student ratio. The formula for a successful program depends on several factors that MENTOR has curriculum to help organizations design a successful workplace mentorship program.

Ms. Brenda provided insight from the youth perspective and emphasized that mentoring young people or opportunity youth begins with building relationships for both parties. She described it has a marriage and that to avoid divorces organizational leadership must be invested and there should be outcomes for youth and the worker. Everyone described how mentoring has increased worker satisfaction where companies are increasing the skills and expertise of employers. The Schultz Foundation launched a nationwide campaign, 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, to jumpstart youth and young adults careers by connecting mentors and mentees online. Finally MENTOR announced that the newest supplement to The Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring on Workforce Mentoring will be released October 2019.