In 2019, WHYY launched a new extension of the Media Labs program, WHYY Media Labs Pathways to Careers to provide young people who have participated in WHYY Media Labs and/or Afterschool programs further learning opportunities to apply their media skills and gain valuable work experience. 146 paid work experiences have been provided to WHYY-trained youth to-date through the program.
Pathways to Careers is open to students in 10th-12th grade or their first year of college. Students submit an application, and if accepted, are placed in part-time, paid summer media job at WHYY or a local organization like The Philadelphia Inquirer, WURD, Comcast, WXPN. The eight-week program includes one orientation week, six on-the-job work weeks, and one presentation and wrap-up week. Students receive regular supervision and professional development on skills like pitching a project idea, speaking with a boss and creating a resume.
WHYY expanded the Pathways to Careers program in the 2020/21 year by continuing to provide paid freelance opportunities throughout the academic year. 27 freelance experiences were provided, including Spoken Youth, an initiative to broadcast youth curated content in monthly segments on WHYY-FM. 21 freelance opportunities were provided in the 2021-22 academic year to amplify youth voice on important topics including:
· Noel Chako, Kaveen Harohalli, Jacob Smollen for Billy Penn: Halal cart prices rise slightly as Philly street vendors try to adapt https://billypenn.com/2021/12/12/halal-cart-prices-rise-philadelphia-street-vendor-pandemic/
· Alyssa Horton for Plan Philly: My dad is homeless. I don’t think Philly is doing enough to help him https://whyy.org/articles/my-dad-is-homeless-i-dont-think-philly-is-doing-enough-to-help-him/
· Kaitlyn Rodriguez for Billy Penn: Philly high school student: I’m ‘hopeful, scared, and nervous’ about return to school with ‘impossible’ rules and regulations https://billypenn.com/2021/09/01/philadelphia-student-reaction-school-covid-masking-asthma-anxiety/
In the summer of 2022, 24 students engaged in hybrid remote/in-person paid work experiences at WHYY (in grants, The Pulse, The News and Information Community Exchange,Bridging Blocks), 5shorts, Motivos, and BillyPenn from June 27-August 11.