Monday, March 15, 2010

A nontraditional route to success

Talking with Jeff Magada about Flying High, Inc. made me think about the limitations of traditional forms of education and the value of offering alternatives.  Magada's program fills in for young adults for whom traditional schooling just doesn't work. Flying High offers more personalized attention, a stronger focus on job preparation, and more specific training in both job skills and what some term "employability" skills.

This program, and other non-profit private efforts to help at-risk young people prepare for successful adult lives, seem to be growing in our community, no doubt in response -- at least in part and perhaps indirectly -- to problems with the local schools, as well as persistent unemployment and poverty in the area.  All of that creates conditions that make preparing for employment difficult for young people, in part because they see so few opportunities.  Programs that build leadership skills can help improve participants' economic situations, of course, but they can also build our community.  As Flying High says on its website, their goal is to build "self-sufficiency" and to "mobilize young people to be part of neighborhood revitaization efforts."  In other words, theirs is an alternative path not only in terms of education and job preparation but also in terms of serving others. 

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