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Youth Career Connections is Orange County United Way’s work-based learning program that infuses classroom learning with real-world experiences. We connect students directly to employers so they are prepared for lifelong success by graduating both college- and career-ready.

Bringing experiential learning to and extending student career exploration beyond the classroom helps put students on a path toward academic and economic success.

Our Program Offerings

Corporate Classroom Speakers

Corporate Classroom Speakers

Professionals working in our key industries visit local classrooms to share their journey after graduating from high school.

Industry Site Visits

Industry Site Visits

Companies in our key industries open up their doors to host local high school students so students can see potential careers and pathways for them to pursue.

Workplace Mentorships

Workplace Mentorships

High school seniors intern for 4 weeks at a local company to gain on-the-job experiences and explore career possibilities.

Summer Career & Life Prep Academy

Summer Career & Life Prep Academy

Through workshops and guest speakers, students gain valuable employability skills and expand their networks.

Start-Up Bootcamp

Start-Up Bootcamp

Students interested in becoming entrepreneurs learn the fundamentals of starting their own business, from creating business plans to pitching their ideas to investors.

First Responders Academy

First Responders Academy

We partnered with Falck Mobile Health to offer two-day academies where students learn CPR, receive partial EMT training, enjoy an ambulance ride-along, and more.

Key Industries of Focus

YCC Key Industries-Arts & Media

Arts, Media & Entertainment
(Digital Arts Media)

YCC Key Industries-Business & Marketing

Business, Marketing &

YCC Key Industries-Engineering

Engineering, Design &

YCC Key Industries-Health Science

Health Services &
Medical Technology

YCC Key Industries-IT

Information &


Since the start of the program, we’re proud to have worked with OC school districts and United Way corporate partners to achieve the below impact for the benefit of OC students. THANK YOU to everyone involved!


students and teachers received work-based learning experiences


workplace mentorships provided


corporate classroom speakers


industry site visits


graduation rate


volunteers and corporate partners


volunteer hours

Learn More about Our Program Offerings

Corporate Classroom Speakers

Share your higher education and work experience to show local high school students in underserved school districts how their studies connect to the world outside school.

Scheduling is flexible. We’re looking to coordinate speaker sessions between September to April, Monday to Friday between 8am and 3:30pm at schools throughout Orange County.

Sign up today! Contact Ursula Parra via email or phone 949.263.6144 .

Industry Site Visits

Industry site visits give students the opportunity to learn about different businesses and industries so they can see potential careers and pathways for them to pursue.

Sample Site Visit Itinerary:

  • United Way makes welcome remarks and introduces your company
  • Company overview by representatives
  • Company tour led by representatives
  • Q & A session
  • Mixer/lunch
  • Closing and group photos

Scheduling is flexible. We’re looking to coordinate industry site visits between September and April.

Sign up today! Contact Ursula Parra via email or phone 949.263.6144 .

Workplace Mentorships

Mentor a high school senior at your company for 4 weeks for them to gain on-the-job experiences and explore career possibilities. Workplace mentorships take place between June and July (20 hours a week).

All students will have learned the importance of the following workforce employability skills:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Organizational & Communication Skills
  • Self-Management & Taking Initiative
  • Punctuality
  • Customer Service
  • Critical & Creative Thinking
  • Global Fluency & Perspective

Sign up today! Contact Ursula Parra via email or phone 949.263.6144 .

First Responders Academy

Thanks to our partnership with Falck Mobile Health, local high school students can explore what it’s like to work as first responders and emergency medical service providers. This two-day academy taught students the basics on how to stop bleeding, hands-only CPR, taking blood pressure, common calls for first responders, and how to have an emergency medical technician mindset.

Students also went on a ride-along job shadowing experience where they watched first responders answering emergencies in real time, networked with EMTs, and witnessed firefighters, local police officers, and emergency room staff provide patients with life-saving emergency medical services.

Start-Up Bootcamp for Student Entrepreneurs

This five-month program teaches students the basic principles of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial mindset. Students learn how to create a business model and plan, pitch it to investors and showcase their product to launch their business.

With personalized coaching from small business owners, students vie for a spot at local pop-up markets and the top student wins a scholarship to help them start their business.

To learn more, contact Ursula Parra via email or phone 949.263.6144 .

Career & Life Prep Academy

This academy allows students to prepare for their future career by gaining technical, professional, and leadership skills; interacting with industry experts to expand their personal network; and learning about beneficial topics like personal wellness and finances.

Students hear from guest speakers from companies like Google and Banc of California, go on tours with local companies and do resume prep and mock interviews.

To learn more, contact Ursula Parra via email or phone 949.263.6144 .

Contact Us

For more information on volunteer opportunities or how your company can provide enrichment activities for local students, please contact Yahaira Ortiz, Director, United for Student Success at 949.263.6142 or via email.

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