“Prepared for What’s Next” helps more than 50 Chicago high school students improve the skills they need for the future including networking, interviewing and dressing for success.

May 21, 2019

Career readiness goes far beyond the classroom, and @Sprint4Chi volunteers supported Youth Guidance in developing the career skills of high school students from under-resourced schools across Chicago at “Prepared for What’s Next 2019” (#PFWN2019).


“Sprint is honored to support ‘Prepared for What’s Next’ for the third year in a row,” said Jim Mills, President of the Midwest at Sprint. “This day is just as impactful to Sprint volunteers as it is to the youth, and we are grateful for the opportunity to positively impact our community.”


University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) hosted the all-day event with opening remarks from Leah Eggers, Director of Youth Guidance Youth Workforce Development and Postsecondary Pathways and an event welcome from Phillip Beverly, Director of the UIC President’s Award Program.


Phillip emphasized that the workforce is always changing, and said that all students need to develop their own set of skills to help them throughout their career journey.


“You will be the people who create the next series of jobs that we can’t even imagine yet,” Phillip said.


Nelly Pitocco, President of Affinity and Strategic Partnerships at Sprint, shared her inspiring life journey. As a child, Pitocco moved to Chicago with her mother and siblings from Puerto Rico. She said they faced many hardships growing up, but it never stopped her from wanting to better herself. 


“When my mom moved us here, one of the things that she taught us was that you need to change your environment in order to understand what your options are. You can’t be, what you can’t see” Nelly said.


The art of networking is sought-after in today’s job market, and the students had the opportunity to practice making connections with more than 50 event volunteers. Conversations focused on future plans, goals, and other interests.


During the goal setting lunch, students were paired with volunteers to learn how to set goals effectively. Some of the students shared what their future career goals are and what they are involved in at their school.


Kate, a junior, is interested psychology and wants to go into the medical field. “I like being able to connect with people and help them get through whatever they are going through on their own,” Kate said.


Stephanie, a senior, said she wants to study graphic design or dentistry after high school. She also wants to take away skills from the event that would help her in either of those career paths. “I really want to learn to communicate better,” she said.


First impressions can make or break an interview, and students were shown how to dress for success in any professional situation. Every student at Prepared for What’s Next left the event with a business outfit they can wear to a future interview. All of the clothes were generously donated by Sprint.


After mock interviews in their new business clothes, students wrapped up the day with their own reflections. Marco shared how Nelly’s story of her own life journey inspired him. 


“If she (Nelly) could do it, I know I can do it too. She didn’t have anything growing up and now she’s the President of Sprint. Why can’t I do it too?”


Youth Guidance:

Youth Guidance creates and implements school-based programs that enable youth to overcome obstacles, focus on their education and ultimately succeed in school and life. Founded in 1924, Youth Guidance is a leading provider of outcomes-driven programs and capacity-building initiatives, directly serving approximately 11,000 youth in more than 100 schools this year. More than 95% are African American and Hispanic/Latino. Youth Guidance focuses services on Chicago most under-resourced areas of the city —where the challenges of community violence, unemployment and academic failure are prevalent.  For more info, visit www.youth-guidance.org.