The Importance of Social Capital

Recently I had a conversation with a DCFYI teen who is diligently looking for a job. Like most recent high school graduates she has some but not much work experience. She feels like she is doing the right things but they haven't led to employment and she is frustrated.

We talked about strategies and tasks (and not giving up) and then she said: "I just want someone to look at how hard I'm trying and say 'I'll take a chance and give her a job.' Is that too much to expect?"

Her question reminded me that many of us find a first (and often subsequent) job through our networks. Which begs the question of what happens if one doesn't have those networks: who will vouch for a young person just starting out so that a potential employer will "take a chance?"

Because we are building a program evaluation, I've been thinking about "social capital" - specifically that creating social capital for DCFYI teens is one thing that makes our program special (and that we need to be able to measure).

Also led me to think that somewhere in our network is someone with a job (or someone who knows someone with a job) that would be perfect for a teen just starting out. If that person is you, won't you let me know?


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