A new project in Rohnert Park, the Frame4 Project, will give high school students help, resources, and connections to help them identify, and understand, what career is best and most meaningful to them. The project is being funded by a $5,000 grant from the Rohnert Park Foundation small grants program.
“The essential goal of the Frame4 Project is to connect students to a future career, and to a career that is not only in line with their interest and abilities, but also to meaning, to a purposeful career path,” says Rohnert Park resident Leopold van den Daele, a Sonoma Academy high school senior who founded the project. “It connects students to local businesses and organizations through these career introductions.”
The career introductions will be more than just cursory information, but will attempt to give the students a hands-on, on-site introduction at local businesses and organizations, to connect students to the day-to-day reality of a specific career, as well as giving them information about the skill set and education required to pursue that field. In addition, Frame4 will provide every student with a Compass booklet, a book detailing suggestions for how to identify a purposeful career. Students will also receive resume, interview and application guidance.
“The point is to offer a broad range of career opportunities for students so they can immerse themselves in future careers and in careers that they believe would align with their interests, their abilities and their motivations,” says van den Daele.
The Frame4 Project will be offered to students at all three Rohnert Park high schools - Credo High School, Technology High School and Rancho Cotate High School, and is also offered to homeschool students in the area. Van den Daele hopes to have the career introductions start in late Feb. or early March.
“This is wonderful for both ends,” says van den Daele. “Businesses and organizations will receive the opportunity to connect to the community and to the next generation of the labor market. Students too receive a broad range of experience and an opportunity to show their credentials to colleges or in the workforce.”
As a high school student himself, van den Daele saw a divide between education and occupation. The classroom and careers rarely, if at all, intersected. When he read the statistics, that the average number of career changes between the ages of 20 and 29 is seven, and that the satisfaction of American workers is consistently low, he had the idea for Frame4. It is his hope that students can fully immerse themselves into various careers to identify which fields will balance their success and satisfaction.
“When my classmates and I started applying to colleges and choosing majors, there really wasn’t a foundation so to speak, to know the future career paths and future academic paths we wished to pursue,” says van den Daele. “It’s really an attempt to bridge a fundamental divide between education and career.”
While van den Daele will be attending Stanford University this fall, he hopes this pilot program will continue, and grow, in the coming years. Students can create an account on frame4.org and can pick and choose career introductions in which to enroll. Local businesses and organizations are encouraged to sign up to participate in helping students learn about their industries and can do so on the website or by emailing email@example.com.