This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 13, 2012

Mentoring Models that Work

We have long touted the value of mentoring programs; mentors provide particularly valuable support for students and graduates to get them through rough times or help them acclimate to new situations.

Last month, the United States Business Leadership Networkš (USBLNš), headquartered in Washington, DC, announced it had received a two-year national grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF). The grant will support the expansion of their Career Link Mentoring Program, a collaborative project between the USBLNš and the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN).

This Career Link Mentoring Program assists college students and recent graduates (including veterans) with disabilities, through connections to business professionals from the USBLNš's member companies who are the mentors. During the mentoring relationship, participants engage in various activities that have a positive impact on their future employment prospects. One goal of this mentoring program is to support employers' increasing demands for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professionals, as well as to encourage their hiring veterans.

MEAF provides national grants focused on its vision of empowering youth with disabilities to lead productive lives through increased employment. The USBLNš is a national non-profit, non-partisan business-to-business network promoting workplaces, marketplaces, and supply chains where people with disabilities are included.

Another mentoring model that has an impressive track record is that of Leadership CONNECTIONS in North Carolina. Leadership CONNECTIONS is a three-tiered mentoring program providing support to young women at risk, ages 14-17. The three tiers are professional women, graduates of the program, and peers. This successful program teaches Leadership Basics and provides Character Education, as well as requiring community service from the participants.

Led by its own graduates, the work of this non-profit qualified organization has produced amazing results: 82 percent of their participants graduated from four-year colleges and universities; 11 percent hold advanced degrees; and another 6 percent went on to get some type of certification or attended community college. Not many other programs can boast that level of success. The graduate leaders of this program are available to train others who want to start similar programs.

Kudos to both of these worthwhile programs! Mentoring works and offers the greatest pipeline-building prospect for employers worldwide. The best employers are already providing mentoring. If the US or any country is to be competitive on the global stage, it must embrace this mutually beneficial opportunity.

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