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Phalanx Family Services and CLX Focus on Digitally-Enabled Careers

One of the most rewarding parts of Chicago Learning Exchange’s (CLX) work is supporting innovative and engaging learning experiences as they move from a seed of an idea to a flourishing program. The Microsoft Career Tech Program embodies this journey.

In 2018, CLX, One Summer Chicago, and Microsoft partnered to develop the Microsoft Career Tech Program - a six-week summer learn-and-earn program for a group of 20 for 16 - 24 year-olds. CLX engaged MHA Labs - an organization committed to supporting 21st Century Skill development among youth - to create a curriculum that combined work-readiness and Microsoft Office skills to support youth in obtaining entry-level job placements.

Through hands-on activities that included LRNG Playlists and badges, participating youth gained Microsoft Office skills while they built their resumes, personal budgets, personal branding decks, and LinkedIn profiles.

When youth earned digital badges for building Microsoft skills and work-readiness skills, they unlocked access to additional Microsoft training and certifications, paid for through this program.

Last summer, the program was piloted at St. Sabina and has now been implemented at Phalanx Family Services. Phalanx has engaged an incredible teacher, Steven Hodges, to lead multiple cohorts through this program and refine it based on participants expressed interest and needs.

When the youth realized how Excel can be used for day-to-day life, they got excited. They saw how it makes life easier when they know where their money is going. They saw value in the spreadsheet.

Steven Hodges, Phalanx Microsoft Career Tech Teacher

Phalanx has emphasized peer-tutoring and resourcefulness as part of their approach, encouraging participants to assist each other through challenges as well as practice internet research.

CLX is proud of its collaboration with Phalanx and looks forward to continuing to support partners to implement and expand this project.