Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota Supports PEACE Program in Cultivating Career Pathways for Youth
The City of Minneapolis’s Pathways to Emergency and Academy Career Experiences (PEACE) Program gives Minneapolis public school students the opportunity to explore careers in Fire, Police, Emergency Services, and Legal Services. Students who participate in the program have the opportunity to meet and work with a trained mentor and professional in one of the aforementioned fields, and meet monthly to get hands on experience in their field of interest, build a professional network, develop new skills, and receive support to accomplish their academic goals.
Technical assistance (TA) from the OJJDP National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) heavily contributed to the success of this mentoring program’s launch. With the expert support of their TA Provider, the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, PEACE launched an effective mentor training in March of 2017, with a large audience in attendance, and this helped create a buzz about this new mentoring program. As a result, the PEACE program recruited 24 mentors in a few short months, equipping them with the volunteers needed to serve their first cohort of youth. Their TA Provider also helped them create a plan to host monthly mentoring events to support youth and mentors in building relationships.
The City of Minneapolis’s program coordinators wanted to make sure that they were rolling out their mentoring program in an effective and efficient way, and that they were on track to reach their goals and outcomes. The TA they received from the NMRC helped ensure that the PEACE program’s curriculum was designed to meet the needs of students. Students enrolled in PEACE participate in monthly mentoring events with peers that provide opportunities for reflection and team building, while supporting them in developing resumes, building a professional network, engaging in self-care practices, and exploring potential careers. Minneapolis Public School students also work with a Check and Connect Monitor at their school who helps ensure success during the program and supports them in staying on track for graduation. Students also get hands-on experience by doing an internship over the summer, enabling them to make personal connections with professionals in their career fields of interest.
PEACE Program’s Justice Career Pathways Grant Manager, ShaVonda Allen, explained that the technical assistance that PEACE received from the NMRC was helpful in connecting program staff with needed resources and expertise, while supporting their engagement with their various stakeholders as they created and marketed their mentoring program. Regarding her experience with her TA Provider, she shared:
“I really enjoyed working with the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota and felt honored to have had such knowledgeable staff behind my project helping to develop the necessary tools to make our mentoring program a success. There was a real connection between the staff understanding the specific needs of my program and creating tools to support those specific needs. It was a big relief to have the assistance.”
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with the opportunity to request and receive no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests technical assistance, their request is assigned to a local or regional technical assistance provider within MENTOR's network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and TA providers. As in the example of PEACE, new and emerging mentoring programs may benefit from technical assistance to help them design and implement programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, while existing or established programs may utilize TA to meet improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.