By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 16, 2024 at 10:28 AM

This article was written in partnership with Employ Milwaukee.

Most kids only have little-to-no idea of what kind of career they want as an adult. It takes experiences and self-reflection to find out who we are and what we are cut out to do in life. For kids who need resources beyond their homes, Employ Milwaukee Workforce Development – the local workforce development board that serves Milwaukee County – started “Building Futures.”

The holistic, personalized program provides professional services to 14 to 21-year-olds who are in school and want to begin to discover their passions and consider career options. Eligibility for the program includes having a low income or coming from a low-income family, enrollment in a Milwaukee County high school, secondary or post-secondary school, and having a potential barrier to career success such as skills deficient, pregnant or parenting, disabled and/or unable to speak English fluently.

Building Futures participants have access to career exploration, mentorship, skills training, and educational support – all of which provide them with guidance and resources so they will thrive in their chosen paths.

“Building Futures provides kids the opportunity to embark on a journey towards a brighter future,” says Employ Milwaukee President and CEO, Chytania Brown. “It empowers participants to discover their passions and develop the necessary tools for success through services tailored specifically to each participant’s needs.”

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The program also centers on confidence building, self-reliance, leadership development, financial literacy, post-secondary preparation and essential life skills.

Some of the opportunities kids have experienced through Building Futures include shadowing a Milwaukee police officer at a station near their home; working in a school or the Urban Ecology Center; training for a healthcare career; observing and assisting IT professionals; and more.

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Since 2014, Employ Milwaukee has served over 600 young people through Building Futures. The program was made possible after The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law in 2014.

“Each year, we serve between 60-100 high school youth and we have the capacity to serve even more,” says Brown.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.