Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – February 2022

Instructions:  Create an original post and describe the major groups of people with whom you work and the backgrounds from which they originate. Identify the key resources that you use with this group.  Then respond to one classmate’s post. You will make a total of two posts.

Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

21 thoughts on “Career Services to Multicultural Populations Forum – February 2022”

  1. alejandra.lopez says:

    Currently, I work at the Cesar Chavez Community School in Woodland, CA. Chavez is the county community school housed by Yolo County Office of Education. I specifically work with students in grades 9-12th. All of students are diverse in different aspects of their lives. Some of them are English Learners, some have special needs, some have unstable housing, some have a strong support system outside of school. Aside from these diverse aspects of each individual students, the way everyone learns is different. Currently, the key elements that I have used with our students (given, I have only worked here for two months) is motivational interviewing to gauge what it is they are interested in and then providing them resources. For example, I quickly found that most, if not all, of our students wanted to create a resume but felt they didn’t have enough experience. I decided to put together a resume powerpoint and provided them with a folder with examples of resumes, resume tips, the powerpoint presentation slides, and also a list of action verbs. Then, I met individually with the students who expressed immediate interest in creating a resume and really got to hear them speak about their experience and helped them use their personal life experience into their resume. For example, most of the students I work with babysit their younger siblings and/or cousins and some even serve as the translator/interpreter for their family members. Currently, I haven’t really been utilizing assessments or other resources, but I’m looking forward to figuring out alongside our teachers how to incorporate the CA CareerZone and other online tools for students.

    1. bwortmann says:

      I always thought students sold themselves short on their resumes. A lot of my students worked in fast food, like McDonald’s, but they never wanted to put it on their professional resume. Perhaps later on as an adult they can omit “America’s first job” but I always argued that they had more relevant work skills by working there. For example, making change/mental math, team work, using technology, customer service, “fast-paced environment,” communication skills, etc. There’s a danger in going too far and referring to McDonald’s as “fine dining” or “cuisine” but the actual work they performed there was still transferrable skills that belonged on a resume.

    2. jwongchen says:

      Students certainly have a range of life experiences, needs, access to resources and although there are some universal themes, it’s great to individualize relationships, approaches and services. It’s so critical to draw out their strengths and transferable skills from what they humbly might not think is worth mentioning on a resume.

  2. bwortmann says:

    My direct service is past tense as I’ve moved away from working directly with clients, however, when I provided college access services to high school students I worked in a very diverse school. It was inner city Cleveland with 100% free and reduced lunch. While Cleveland itself is predominantly African American, my school was roughly a third white, a third Puerto Rican (typically at least second generation, but some first), and a third African American. The students were typically more stable than most of the other students in the district, but as a whole the district runs about 30% transient/at-risk for homelessness. We usually had at least a handful of at-risk students and our building was also a site of School of One, a blended online program directed at students in foster care/at-risk/justice involved/or parents. Our school usually enrolled about half of our graduating seniors in college and always had a solid group that went into apprenticeships, like Cleveland Public Power.
    I think the resources I used the most were things to build rapport. I tend to ask pretty good questions and listen well, but my initial challenge was always the fact that I looked nothing like my students. It got even worse when they inevitably found out I grew up on a working farm in rural Nebraska!
    For example, one thing that I would always try and learn was which neighborhoods the students came from. Our district is open enrollment which meant students from anywhere could enroll in whichever school they wanted to. Unfortunately, our city is extremely segregated, so learning which neighborhood a student lived in meant you could start to deduce things about their situation. By asking if they were on the 22 or the 25 meant they took the bus on Lorain or Madison. These streets run parallel through the west side of the city but go through very different neighborhoods (more affluent and more violent respectively). Then, by knowing which bus they might be on I can ask further questions (“Is that by City Life? Oh no, you’re right, it’s closer to Scranton Road Bible Church; yeah they redid that library over there. It’s nice now.”) But in asking that it tipped the student off that I knew enough about life in the city to take an interest in their lives.
    I mentioned helping students go to apprenticeships as well. While this wasn’t within how I was evaluated as a college access advisor, it fell within my scope of work as a postsecondary option. When I realized there were more students interested in those as options, I sought out the training needed to help them go into those as well and we worked to develop an apprenticeship/trades fair for students less interested in college.

    1. alejandra.lopez says:

      Hi there! This is such a great post. I am glad you were able to build rapport with students and find connections to apprenticeships. I’m curious to know what tools you used to deduce what apprenticeships they were interested in or if they even knew that apprenticeships were available.

      1. bwortmann says:

        Unfortunately in my experience, the apprenticeships take a ton of work to build relationships with. You almost have to get lucky and have someone answer the phone. They’re starved for people to enter the trades but they put up a lot of their own barriers. One program that’s a little more successful is called ACE Mentoring. That’s architecture, construction, and engineering. The big firms in town send mentors into schools afterschool and they do projects about ACE topics and the kids produce models and actually respond to a local RFP. (Last year they submitted to design the dog park near a new library.) Most of those students end up in engineering programs in college or construction management, however.
        The tools for figuring out apprenticeships were the same. Interest profilers, etc, but it was finding the apprenticeships and navigating them as a viable career path that was challenging. Most of the students I had go to apprenticeships were males that were on the fence about college.

    2. sdesmangles says:

      I enjoyed reading your post. The fact that you enrolled “about half of ” graduating seniors in college and apprenticeships is huge. Wow growing up in Nebraska sounds cold, lol, but I bet you learned so much from your days there that carried over to helping the high school students be successful in inner city Cleveland.

      1. fabian says:


        I enjoyed reading your post because it shows the importance of providing resources depending on the needs and interest of our students/clients. Sometimes a well placed question/comment can lead to great opportunities.

  3. sdesmangles says:

    I work with a culturally and economically diverse group of students from all different backgrounds here at River City High School. Many of whom are English language learners and may have been born outside the United States. We have LGBTQ+ students, we have students with medical and mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder. Some students are experiencing homelessness or or may be involved with the criminal legal system including the foster care system. In Chapter 1, we learned that “helping skills” such as attending, listening and reflecting allow us to work effectively with our students. Similarly I find that my cultural experiences and background make it easier for me to provide career services to all students despite their unique differences. I still have much to learn about multicultural awareness, but I do understand that as career services providers we have “the legal and ethical obligation to treat people equitably and not let our biases color our ability to provide services” (Chapter 6-4). Many of us are not aware that our belief systems, world views, cultures, values, experiences, etc., so often influence the counseling process and all of our relationships. We must try to remember to be empathetic and understanding when helping our students which in turn allows us to build trust in all of our relationships. We are all individuals with individual stories and what I know for sure is that our workplaces and the world will only continue to become increasingly diverse.

    1. alcontreras says:

      I would agree, sometimes we don’t realize that our own beliefs, cultures, world views, etc. affects the way we counsel. It something that I constantly have to think about and be aware of. Everyone is unique and it is important (just how you mention) to listen to your client!

    2. tou.thao says:

      Being culturally aware is a necessity when working with a diverse group of individuals. Sometimes it is hard to look at a situation through a different lens but it is something we all must do to ensure that our student is receiving the the correct services. I totally in agreement with that there is still much more to learn in regards to multicultural awareness. It take time and commitment.

    3. sabrina.leonard says:

      At the school I work for we serve adults 22 and older seeking a High School Diploma. It is one of the most diverse populations I have ever encountered. Some of our students are here seeking asylum or that have come to the country just 10 days ago. We have navigators that speak 72 different languages to assist with any language barriers. I myself am not bilingual but do my best to be as helpful and humble as possible. So becoming more culturally aware of others is one of my goals as well.

  4. fabian says:

    I currently work with Empower Yolo directing the ASSETs program at Woodland High School. The population there is quite diverse but has a high population of Latinx students. Many of them are English Learners, first generation immigrants and usually low income. While our focus is the students success we know that working with the student’s parents/guardians is going to be essential. With this population of students we use a variety of resources such as academic support, snacks, mentorship, advising, and an array of other resources. With the parents we tend to offer the resources of the agency which are expansive. We offer legal services, counseling, housing support, domestic violence/sexual assault services, and many more. While we do provide many resources the one resource that is used the most is our attending skills. Student and parents usually want to be heard and understood.

    1. keenya.powell says:


      I couldn’t agree more. When I started in education I was the admin support for the Vice Principals at a high school. VP’s usually do the majority of discipline at high schools. I was the first line of defense when students were is trouble. Parents would come in ranting and raving. I always found that if I let them get it out, then acknowledged their confusion and anger while offering my support to get through the situation, they would calm down and apologize. They just wanted someone to listen. Plus unfortunately most parents don’t hear from their child’s school unless there is a problem. They are angry at their child, the situation, sometimes embarrassed and many times had to leave their job. They just wanted someone to acknowledge that.

    2. princess.walton says:

      We also serve Latin X in our Equity initiatives program. We serve a diverse population as well and provide a variety of wrap around services for the adults to be successful. When the parents want to be heard what do you find as being the most common complaint? We to have ESL student adults who want to work upon months of their arrival to the US and that tends to be very difficult because they don’t have much English or understanding of how gaining employment works. Assessment processes take longer because they do not or can not locate the work authorization, no resume, don’t know how to accept a job offer. Just to name a few so we provide language support to facilitate this and now require students to take workforce readiness as a requirement after English IA and IB are complete.

  5. alcontreras says:

    I work directly with high school students from grades 10-12. My program is under CTE (Career Technical Education) and the basis of CTE is to provide students courses that integrate core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge. This provides a pathway for students to post secondary education and careers. CTE values giving students real world skills to be better prepared for after high school and because of this I work with a lot of students who may be first generation, English is a second language, students who don’t have the resources to get an internship, students who do not know what they want to do in life and students who absolutely have an idea. The objective of my program is to provide students internships where they can explore various careers or explore a career they are interested. Along with the internships, I help students develop workplace skills, teach the how to write a resume and cover letter, and practice interviewing. A lot of these students haven’t had a first job yet, so it is important that they develop these skills regardless of what job you are applying for. I am these students biggest support system and I will always advocate for them, they will be our future, and I want to do my best to provide them support, mentorship, and any other resources they need along the way.

  6. keenya.powell says:

    The majority of people I work with are school administrators and teachers. Working with each takes a different approach. For example, although am not the teacher’s direct manager, many times I am in a position where I must tell them what to do or how to do something correctly. It takes good communication and listening. Understanding where they are at in the process, why and how they are feeling overall about what I’m trying to help them correct. Of course, there are also the obvious things that I also must consider how long they have been in education, age, culture and any possible bias. All of these things change how I approach the person and present they situation. I always come from a place of support. I am here to support them achieve the best outcome. I find that a patience, listening, offering concreate support, working in partnership and honesty go a long way with both groups.

  7. tou.thao says:

    Here at Highlands Community Charter & Technical School (HCCTS) we work with Adults over the age of 22 and help them earn a High School Diploma. Our student population is diverse and really reflects the diversity of the people who live in the Sacramento area. Our main population is the refugee population that includes Afghan, Iraqi, and Eastern European people. Resources I use open ended questions as they are telling their story. This allows me to pick up information that is related to the reason why they are meeting with me. A good way I get the conversation started is to discuss about their home country, referencing historical points during their time there to break the ice to make my participants more comfortable having a discussion with me. I actively read up on my participants’ countries’ history and major news.

  8. sabrina.leonard says:

    Better late then never to make my post. I work for Highlands Community Charter & Technical Schools in Sacramento, CA. The population we serve are adults 22 and older seeking a High School Diploma. When enrolling as a High School student as an adult it is quite a humbling experience. I know this because I was a 38 year old who graduated from there. I am also part of the re-entry population. Part of our population of students is also the re-entry population. Our school offers Career Technical Education or as we say CTE programs at no cost to the student. This gives them the opportunity to really have a foot in the door to a new path of life. We offer Class A Truck driving (all fees paid), Cosmo Beauty Academy, Gurnick Medical School, Asher Technical College, Early Childhood Education & State Licensing, Group Fitness Instructor, MC3 with a pathway to become union & Industry Recognized Certifications from 7 very well known companies ie. Southwest Airlines, Texas Tech University, etc. These pathways are a key factor in building self confidence for the student and a new path in life. It is easy for me to bond with the re-entry population and let them know that if I can succeed there is hope for anyone!

  9. princess.walton says:

    Currently I work with Adult Learners 22 years and older at Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools. We have an extremely diverse student population. The major groups that we work with are white, Black, Asian, and Pacific Islander. Within those groups, over 75 % of our population are English is a Second Language (ESL). Originating from the Middle East and Europe. We have Over 90 countries represented by our Students and speak over 65 languages. Over 90% of our students are adults from low income families. Along with this many of our students are also experiencing homelessness. We identified a need in our community that generated a new program to encourage Women of color, African American males and Latin X males, to return to obtain their high School diploma. We offer an array of wrap around programs to ensure that any barriers that arise are addressed to promote student success. This includes, but is not limited to, eye glasses, day care for their children under 6, mental health services, language support, interview clothings donated from other staff and students and CBO, homeless resources and help, Expungements help, and Career Services, and tutoring all at no cost to the adult student. All to help with them being successful while they are a student.

  10. jwongchen says:

    The people I primarily serve are high school students in grades 10-12 at a public charter school. Students are a subset of those who attend this project based learning school, but should be in good academic standing and have the scheduling availability to complete program requirements, which includes 45 hours of unpaid efforts and learning in the workplace. Some may be in our Career Technical Education pathways for Digital Arts or Software and Systems Development. Students elect to participate in the Internship Program, as well as choose to attend this school that focuses on innovation, inclusivity and collaboration. A quarter of the school’s students have transferred to this school from other home districts. Relative to surrounding districts, our median household income is high and our percentage of BIPOC, unhoused, ELL and unduplicated students is low. Compared to the local high school, our school has a large LGBTQIA+ community, and number of students with IEPs and 504s, both which are communities that are given significant support. Due to the pandemic, many of this year’s participants have not had much opportunity to gain extracurricular experience with workforce, volunteer opportunities or leadership development. It is critical to draw out students’ strengths, so they can put their best foot forward. I try to listen carefully to our students’ interests and needs, advocate for them and find them a network of mentorship and experience.

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