Date of this Version
Two unprecedented and profound change cycles are currently occurring in the 21st century. The first is that the modern workplace is rapidly changing due to globalization and automation. This change is impacting how humans participate in the future of work. The second is that scientific evidence now supports that the extension of adolescence prolongedly occurs between ages 10 to 26 (Steinberg, 2015). This last formative period of development is marked by increased brain malleability offering the opportunity to hardwire critical knowledge and adaptive life skills (Steinberg, 2015). These two cycles: one driving the global workplace and the other, impacting adolescent development, can be harnessed and linked together to produce transformative results, especially for adolescents from isolated or disadvantaged backgrounds. Developmentally, youth require “access to safe places, challenging experiences and caring people on a daily basis” (Zeldin, Kimball, & Price, 1995). Caring non-parental adults in the form of mentors can provide adolescents with “developmental networks” (Kram & Ragins, 2007). These networks are so potent that they have been called “invisible colleges” offering increased access, exposure and opportunity through informal relationships connections (Cooper, 2010). A daily habit-forming virtual curriculum based on structured positive principles and critical life skills applied with the support of mentors can institutionally transform future workforce outcomes for mentees. Purposeful symbiotic positive change cycles that allow shift in mindsets, acquisition of relevant skills and expansion of networks create self-directed opportunities for adolescents to participate in the future of work rather than be left out or left behind.
mentoring, adolescence, workforce development, positive youth development, technology, 21st century skills
Date Posted: 09 June 2020