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United Way Video Series Spotlights Local Career Paths with Sustainable Wages for Graduating High School Seniors

New Capacities, a collective impact project led by the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, has adapted student Career Expo’s for our new world of remote learning and social distancing.  Originally intending to support career exploration fairs at the two Norwich middle schools this past Spring 2020 the project changed direction and built the Career Exploration Video Series.  The series takes the exploration fair online by highlighting careers in local, in-demand industries through short 3-5 minute video interviews conducted by United Way.  The project has selected 10 careers in this first release and has plans to continue the project with other unique opportunities. 

There are two key and unique elements of the chosen career paths.  First, is the focus on careers that can be obtained with a high school diploma alone and in some cases an additional certification training.  Second, and most critical to New Capacities project goals, is that each career has incomes that allow these young adults to achieve a financially stable salary.  The anticipated salaries for the 10 highlighted careers start at $26,000 and increase through $70,000 as they grow in their roles.  At a minimum, the wages for each role align with the region’s household survival budget as identified by United Way’s bi-annual ALICE report.  The bank teller position in the Career Exploration Video Series even highlights opportunities for promotion through branch and regional management, each position not requiring anything more than their gained experience and training.  

Another critical step in United Way’s launch of the video series is ensuring schools put it to use to assist students in planning their own futures.  The reception for local schools so far as been very positive.  “I think this is a fantastic resource for students.  This will provide students interested in entering the workforce immediately after high school with a snapshot of careers they can explore right in their own backyard” shared Katherine Lauzier, Career Services Specialist at Norwich Free Academy.  Lauzier went on to state several ways her colleagues have already committed to using the video series during this school year; presentation to school faculty, the schools Senior Seminar program, and recent graduates still exploring careers.  United Way’s goal is to share this resource with schools and other youth-serving community groups in New London County. 

New Capacities: Norwich is a collective impact initiative convened and funded by United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.  It began with a request from the City of Norwich in November 2016 asking United Way to take the lead on an opportunity to promote economic growth. United Way secured funding, convened a team of cross-sector partners, and designed a project to achieve systems-level change that would increase the number of financially stable households.  The goal is to increase the number of financial stable households in Norwich to 66% by 2028.  To learn more about New Capacities, United Way’s impact in Norwich, and the Career Exploration Video Series visit