“This is the best day of my life!” exclaimed 22-year-old Mission Techie Jessica Dean after speaking with an engineer at LinkedIn’s “Career Exposure Day.” Jessica continued by stating that she now knew for sure that coding was for her.
It’s quite the invitation when LinkedIn for Good offers a visit to their downtown San Francisco office. So it was no surprise to see 17 Mission Techies dressed to the nines excitedly checking in at the registration counter this morning.
The twelve-week Mission Techies program – part of MEDA’s free Workforce Development – teaches IT essentials of hardware, software, networking and coding. As participants learn these skills, they then refurbish low-income Mission residents’ computers, at no cost. It’s a way of paying it forward via an innovative social enterprise model that is part of the curriculum.
To start the day, a breakfast buffet afforded everyone time to connect. That included fellow attendees from YearUp Bay Area, which takes underresourced young adults into professional careers. There have been 11 Mission Techies from past cohorts enrolled in YearUp.
Once the “Career Exposure Day” agenda started, there was a primer on the power of LinkedIn. The stats are impressive, with 433 million users … and students the fastest-growing sector.
The power of a robust profile and branding yourself was explained. This includes the need for a professional headshot, with the Mission Techies being generously offered such an opportunity today. Also, there was a lesson in the value connections have to furthering your career.
There were then one-on-one coaching sessions for personalized assistance with the creation of profiles, with a LinkedIn staff member at each table. The Mission Techies offered their rapt attention, recognizing that this was a unique chance to directly receive advice from LinkedIn staff.
For the career fair, attendees were educated about various tech roles, including engineering, product management, UI/UX design, data science, recruiting, sales, operations and marketing. It was clear there was a job in tech to whet the appetite of each Mission Techie.
A career panel comprising four LinkedIn employees then offered counsel by sharing their paths to their current jobs. All agreed in the power of mentorships in enhancing a career; they also spoke of the importance of diversity in building a winning team. When asked about their own professional goals, one LinkedIn employee stated to “always aim high,” while a colleague’s tip was to focus of improving skills rather than aiming for a role. Sage advice.
At the hearty lunch that followed, relationships were built and connections were made. After all, that’s what LinkedIn is all about. As their mission statement says, the tech giant aims “to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
MEDA is honored to have LinkedIn playing a role in the Mission Techies program. There have been a number of mentorships, complemented by other office visits and financial support.
MEDA’s Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa, who has run the Mission Techies program since its inception two-and-a-half years ago, explained the importance of the program’s relationship with LinkedIn as follows: “LinkedIn staff helping these young adults make online profiles, explaining career paths to them and talking about the tech sector in general offered an unforgettable day for the Mission Techies. We truly appreciate LinkedIn giving back to the community.”