By Traci Layton, OCC Enid
Ecology: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment
Talent: people with skills, knowledge, cognitive abilities, and the potential to do well as workforce
Enid Ecology of Talent is a method of bringing together organizations and the teens of our community by using technology to demonstrate professional objectives in creative and thoughtful ways. Digital Badges allow for more flexibility and freedom for teens to demonstrate and “show what they know” in a workplace setting as well as showcase a wide variety of personal interests and hobbies. Badges can be earned and shared across several social media platforms. The badge earner provides evidence in the form of a written response, photo and/or video to a number of learning objectives.
Summer months provided many opportunities for community service. The library trained and collaborated with over 40 teen volunteers to help serve its patrons during the summer reading program. Many other teens provided services to area hospitals, animal shelters, and Leonardo’s Art and Science Museum. We believe in validating these experiences because we understand there is value in learning job related skills and providing customer service care. To earn the volunteer badge, one must provide documentation of hours served and create five artifacts that reflect things learned, questions they still have and self-reflections on overall experience.
Let’s talk art. Teen musicians work with event planners to provide live music during downtown events. The Musical Performer badge is earned by providing evidence of a signed contract for service rendered, playing live in a public setting, developing a set list, knowing your audience, listing musical equipment, and sending a thank you card. The thank you card serves as a way to demonstrate knowledge of soft skills. The development of skills such as professionalism, growth mindset, collaboration, and self-awareness help to ensure they can communicate ideas clearly, demonstrate perseverance, solve problems, facilitate, and take ownership.
For many teens, their first jobs are often in the food industry. We aim to provide resources for the training of safe and proper food handling. Food Prep Checklist is a badge that focuses on the how to prep goods and how to handle and keep work space clean. Not only does this help teens gain employment but also serves as a self care skill.
Those are a few examples of digital badge opportunities we have developed. We are currently identifying career pathways, developing more digital badges, determining local workforce partners, and learning from Creative Oklahoma along the way.
Please follow our website for updates.