NYC Skills Lab Announces “I Am Awesome” Campaign Celebrating 21st Century Skills

NYC Skills Lab is proud to present our “I Am Awesome” Campaign. Throughout the year, our students, educators and school partners have worked together to ensure that as a community, we prepare our students for a future of constant change. With the “I Am Awesome” Campaign, NYC Skills Lab sought to celebrate and uplift the voices of students whose lives have been greatly impacted by the 21st century skills development they received in the classroom, through youth-serving organizations, and internships.

Watch our Introduction Video:

NYC Skills Lab has three initiatives that focus on cultivating students skills development in and out-of-school. The Skills Fellowship brings 21st century skills to the classroom. Students directly engage in verbal communication, problem solving and other 21st century skills through classroom learning. Want to know more about how students have grown through consistent practice of 21st century skills? Click the link below:

John Adams YABC –

Another NYC Skills Lab initiative is the Integrated Schools Partnership. It brings 21st century skills such as collaboration and social awareness to students through extended learning opportunities.. The organizations involved are programs that prioritize the development of these skills through hands on learning – such as with STOKED through action sports, or BEAM Center through digital fabrication projects. Outside of the school setting, practicing 21st century skills looks different than it does in the classroom. Want to know how students continue to challenge themselves with the practice of these skills outside of school?

STOKED Mentoring –

The third initiative under NYC Skills Lab, the Workforce Alliance, focuses on supporting students to be prepared for internship success by focusing on 21st century skills development through internship programs. The workforce alliance brings students, schools and businesses together to help students adapt and learn from the work environment, while also honing skills such as personal mindset and planning for success. Students learn the work readiness skills that will push them further in life, and that will allow them to do well in an evolving workforce. To learn more, check the link below:

Richard R. Green High School of Teaching –

Fordham High School for the Arts and their Awesome Drama Skills

Fordham High School for the Arts’ CTE Drama program bridges the learning of 21st century skills with theater and drama-related work disciplines. As students work through the program, they learn to work as stage hands, production assistants and much more. In the process, they become adept at 21st century skills such as problem solving, verbal communication and collaboration.

Linda Key, CTE Drama Teacher and NYC Skills Lab Workforce Alliance Internship Coordinator, believes that these “skills are absolutely necessary in order for [students] to be successful in their workplaces.”

Fordham High School for the Arts has state of the art equipment where CTE Drama interns use their skills in professional productions. They are taught hard skills, such as how to work the lights, audio production and making sure the technology on stage is fully functional before the plays. They are also taught 21st century skills such as time management and balancing the needs of their peers with their own. Having familiarity with those skills helps interns stay on track and effectively balance the multitude of tasks and personalities surrounding a production.

Fordham’s CTE Drama program uses the Top Ten Core Employability Skills as a framework of high-impact skills students will need in order to be successful at any job or career. Leslie Beller, CEO and Founder of MHA Labs, explains that the core employability skills were created “to support work-based learning and summer job practitioners.” Beller explains, “MHA Labs larger work readiness research initiative has studied over 95 skills with over 12,000 employer performance reviews to isolate the core skills that must be in place for youth internship success.” A student who has been trained with these skills will be able to maintain focus on tasks despite distractions, manage time and stay on schedule, and balance their needs with those of their peers.

Through the internship program, employers give interns feedback on how they are performing in the Top Ten Core Employability Skills. The process is most certainly rewarding, but it comes with difficulties. Linda Key explains, “The most difficult aspect of integrating the skills is receiving timely feedback from the employer.” When students are unable to receive feedback, it becomes more difficult to implement and reflect on the skills they are working on developing.

Within the program, there are many reasons to rave. In the program, students are able to develop professionally and explore career choices that suit their personalities – especially when it comes to theater or technical theater. Not only do they leave understanding themselves better as interns and potential employees, they also leave with a strong grasp of key employability skills to help them in any job or career they seek.