Edwards Public Library to host career options talk for teens in Southampton
SOUTHAMPTON — Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that at the end of January, there were roughly 11.3 million jobs available in the country and the number of unemployed stood at 6.3 million people.
With job opportunities surpassing the number of unemployed, those entering the job market have even more options than they would have in the past.
Keeping that in mind, Edwards Public Library is hosting career coach Ed Lawrence, who will provide a presentation on “Career Options for Teens” on Tuesday, March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m.
“We have a lot of conversations and I give them exercises that help determine values, what’s important to them, what they like to do and what they’re good at — what you’re good at isn’t necessarily what you want to do either,” said Lawrence of Natick. “In talking about top experiences, we will explore why those moments matter and we can figure out what are those core needs.”
One of the assessments that Lawrence uses is the Gary Smalley personality types inventory test, which aids in understanding a person’s strengths and weaknesses by characterized personality traits that are explained through animals.
The program will be the first of its kind at the Southampton library, according to Youth Librarian Johanna Rodriguez Douglass. In the past, Douglass has held events for teens with subjects and topics in nature, arts and computer programming.
“I wanted to reach out to teens about employment to give them an opportunity to think about their futures. At this age, it’s a time of discovery and about making good decisions for their future,” she said. “And I hope this gives them an opportunity to get to know about themselves in a logical way.”
During his presentation at the library, Lawrence will also talk about college and if it makes sense for each participant.
“There are alternatives to college as it’s not for everyone — 34% (of college students) drop out in their first year,” he said. “It might make more sense for some to go on a gap year or to a trade school.”
As the first in his family to go to college, Lawrence said he grew up in a household where the attitude was that “once you choose something, you stick with it.”
Though he holds a degree in marketing in finance from Boston University as well as a Master of Business Administration in Information Management, it wasn’t until three years into his work as a systems analyst that he realized he didn’t want to do that kind of work.
“I just didn’t enjoy it,” he said. “I also had five As in accounting in graduate school, but I had no interest in becoming an accountant. But when an engineer came into our office and asked if there were any volunteers to teach customers about technology, I just volunteered and I loved it. I loved learning the technology and helping business people apply the features in their jobs.”
Professionally, Lawrence offers a range of career services to job seekers and those changing careers. In the past, he has given presentations with Boston University’s Center for Career Development as well as MassHire Career Centers, providing adults with assistance on building a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and tips for job searching.
More recently, he’s provided a teen-geared presentation to youth at the Southwick Public Library.
“It is important to note that while I may ask questions, it’s not mandatory to share. This is a safe space. If people are here to listen and learn, I do not want anyone feeling embarrassed,” Lawrence said. “We’re hoping to be planting a seed for the long term that we hope will help them figure out a good choice for their future. We want them to have confidence in themselves to go for what they want.”
Pre-registration is encouraged at Tuesday’s event but walk-in attendees are also welcome. To pre-register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-527-9480.
Emily Thurlow can be reached at email@example.com.