How local companies are providing workplace mentorships to help underserved OC students gain hands-on career-exploration experience and employability skills.
The room was filled with nervous excitement and tangible anticipation as each L3Harris intern set their respective robot car on the obstacle course to approach and navigate various challenges.
During my Workplace Mentorship experience, I gained a lot of knowledge on engineering fields that I wasn’t aware of and I made a lot of professional connections. This opportunity gave me a boost of motivation to pursue this career and strive for success. —Anthony, Student at Santiago High School and L3Harris Workplace Mentorship participant
It’s not every day that students get to build their own robots to compete in a competition. But, that is exactly the type of unique, innovative, and hands-on career-exploration experience that Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program is committed to providing to our underserved OC students.
We couldn’t accomplish this, however, without the many local companies who partner with us to host Youth Career Connections Workplace Mentorships. L3Harris Interstate Electronics Corporation in Anaheim has been a steadfast supporter of our United for Student Success℠ initiative, hosting Workplace Mentorships and participating in Classroom Speaker Sessions since 2018, and over the last couple years, they have also participated in our e-Mentorship Program.
Through our partnership with United Way, L3Harris has been lucky enough to give back to our local community. Through the Workplace Mentorship in particular, we have been fortunate enough to inspire and educate high students who have an interest in the field of engineering. —Vince Longhi, Sr. Director, DES Navigation Solutions, L3Harris
For L3Harris, the invaluable exposure to STEM education, local business, and professional career paths, which they’ve been able to provide via the Workplace Mentorship, has proven to be a continued source of inspiration and long-lasting impact for both student interns and employee volunteers.
Over the course of this year’s summer mentorship, five students were provided with robotics kits to build robot cars, which they assembled, programmed, and tested with expertise, guidance, and support provided by L3Harris employees, all in preparation for a final competition showcasing their accrued learnings.
“In participating in the Workplace Mentorship, our goal was to educate high school students about the different engineering disciplines (Systems, Hardware, Software, Test) through a hands-on smart car robot project,” said Thomas To, Integration/Test Engineering Lead, L3Harris and the internal lead for their program this year. “The students were able to implement what they learned in the lessons provided and then see the results of their efforts via a fun competition at the end. We wanted to educate and inspire these students so they are prepared to continue pursuing their technical passions in an engineering major as they finish high school and go to college.”
A true testament to the power of the mentorship experience and the impactful work L3Harris is doing, is Alexa Wright. She participated in the Workplace Mentorship in 2019 and, this past summer, after completing her second year at Harvey Mudd College, L3Harris welcomed Alexa back as a college summer intern within the software department where she will continue expanding her knowledge and gaining more invaluable experience.
It really is a win-win partnership. Over the course of a summer, students are able to enhance their critical thinking and communication skills while gaining technical experience that will prepare them for their future careers. Additionally, employers are able to build and recruit from a local talent pipeline, increase employee morale, and enhance their company’s stewardship and brand visibility in our local community. —Yahaira Ortiz, Associate Director, United for Student Success
As onlookers from L3Harris and visiting spectators from Orange County United Way and Garden Grove Unified School District cheered and applauded, it was clear that these five students had not only enjoyed their experience, but they had learned an impressive amount during the Workplace Mentorship. And the competing robots were, indeed, a truly remarkable representation of how the experience had helped these students discover, expand, and excel at their talents, interests, and passions.
These students show such an impressive level of composure, determination, and kindness towards their peers and at such a young age. They have bright futures ahead of them and can only go farther with guidance and support! –Pheobe Bui, Corporate Engagement Manager, Orange County United Way
Thank you, L3Harris, for your passion and dedication to investing in local student success and growing our trailblazing workforce leaders of tomorrow.
We are grateful to all the companies and organizations that hosted students for our 2022 Youth Career Connections Workplace Mentorship Program. Thank you for providing career insight and sharing employability skills. Your continued partnership is invaluable in supporting Orange County students!
Empowered by Orange County United Way’s United for Student Success℠ initiative, Youth Career Connections is an integrated work-based learning program that infuses classroom learning with real-world career experiences.
Want to support student success in OC?
If you would like to support local students, we encourage you to:
Contact Yahaira Ortiz at YahairaO@UnitedWayOC.org or 949.263.6142 with questions or to learn how your company can partner with us to offer exciting opportunities for local students.