Big Futures: Serving America’s Future Workforce
with Ginneh Baugh of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Many young adults transitioning to college or entering the workforce experience feelings of uncertainty– especially those with fewer resources.
Ginneh Baugh, Chief Impact Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, joins host Tetiana Anderson to share how her organization is working to help this population start their adult life on the right foot.
Jan 02, 2023
Anderson: The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be an exciting time to explore the possibilities of where you want to live, how to navigate life independently. And what career you want to pursue. Yet for some young adults, especially those who lack access to resources, this time of transition can be scary and unpredictable. Hello, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Tetiana Anderson. In recent years, young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have become the fastest growing population served at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. It's the country's oldest mentoring organization. Leaders there say career readiness programs are key if we want to equip young people with the skills to thrive in college and the workforce. Joining me to discuss how they're serving America's future workforce is Ginneh Baugh, chief impact officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. And Ginneh, thanks for being here.
Baugh: Thank you so much for having me, Tetiana.
Anderson: So let's start out by framing the importance of mentorship. I mean, how valuable is it to really shaping and setting up a young person for success in the future?
Baugh: It's fundamental. Mentorship is really part of the fabric of our community and what brings us together. I've benefited from having great mentors in my life as a young person. I know how important it is. Each of us has had mentors at different points and what it does is it brings people as the solution to what people need.
Anderson: So you've got a couple of programs that really focus on this 18 to 25-year-old group. What are they and what do they offer?
Baugh: The big focus for this age group is our initiative called Big Futures. It sets up individually for youth in this age group, young adults, to be prepared for college, whatever that post-secondary success is for them, two-year, technical. It also gets them prepared for careers, experiences that put them in job settings. It also has an opportunity to work specifically on life skills. A lot of what we think about is the success of individuals, but this is also a bigger strategy to increase equity. When we make this kind of investment in mentoring for young adults, it really increases the chance that African-American young adults will attend college. We've also seen the kind of results that say mentorship at this age increases young adults, especially those that are of color, in different workplace settings, in different careers. So it's around increasing equity for the community, as well as for them individually. And the way that we get all this done is through some fantastic partnerships with the corporate sector. It really does match up the needs of the corporate sector with the upcoming workforce. So different types of jobs, different types of job settings, different types of companies, large ones and small ones, really local partners help to make this possible.
Anderson: Why is there such a specific need to really pay attention to this 18 to 25-year-old group?
Baugh: As we all know, there's this myth that 18 is the magic time. You are an adult and you have figured it all out. We know that's not exactly the case. And this age group, in particular, through the pandemic and what they've experienced in the last three or four years, have had a huge increase in the pressures. There's a large increase in those that are putting off decisions about college. And there's so many life skills and decisions that they're making when they still need support. And so for this age group, right now it matters so much to have that adult who's going to provide guidance, those opportunities to get additional skills.
Anderson: And what about the success rates of participants who have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters in general versus those who haven't been a part of the organization?
Baugh: We're really proud of the success. Our mentorship model focuses on each child, making sure that they can reach and achieve their goals, their full potential. We've got 95% who said, "Yes, this mentor relationship has really benefited my life, and improved my outlook, and my path for the future." We also have a huge success rate in improving sense of belonging, social-emotional skills, and mental health through our mentorship.
Anderson: And I know people are going to want to know a lot more about the work you do, so what's your website?
Baugh: Our website is bbbs.org, and there you can find ways to get involved yourself to become a mentor, to get your friends and colleagues, your coworkers involved, and also to give. We really appreciate all the different partnerships and donations as a way to help youth really achieve their full potential and for us to create more equity in the community.
Anderson: Ginneh Baugh of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Thank you so much for being here.
Baugh: Thank you for having me.
Anderson: And thanks to our viewers, as well, for watching. As always, for more great conversations with leaders in your own community and across the country, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Tetiana Anderson.