In 2016, the National Association of REALTORS® encouraged their state and local associations to get involved with their local Boys & Girls Clubs
. The Community Service Committee of the REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh stepped up to the challenge and hosted their first Career Day that year. A partnership was formed in 2016 between RAMP and the Community College of Allegheny County. Another partner in the Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard was introduced in 2017.
On Friday, November 8, 2019, fourteen teenagers from the LaRosa Boys and Girls Club in McKeesport attended the “4th Annual Career Day” at RAMP’s West Liberty Avenue offices. The theme of the program is “Visions of Opportunity.” The goal is to provide a venue for the kids to give their future some thought.
How does a REALTOR® Association fit into a career day? Think about the impact one real estate transaction has on our economy. There are so many jobs of all different levels that touch each property sale. Beginning with the mortgage professionals that preapprove a consumer, and the REALTOR® who lists and shows properties on the market. Then, you have the title company, home inspector, home improvement contractor, moving and storage company, closing company, etc. Many jobs are involved in each transaction.
Staff from Community College of Allegheny County were able to show the kids the affordability of education at a trade school or community college. From a certificate program to a four year degree, the students were given many different options to achieve their goals of starting a career.
The students also need motivation to pursue their goals. Marlon Ferguson, the Executive Director of the Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard, is the person we turned to for help. Mr. Ferguson talked about growing up in a depressed area in our region. Marlon was a talented basketball player with good grades in school. This gave him an opportunity to play basketball and get an education at the University of Pittsburgh. Follow that with 7 years in the US Navy and Marlon was able to thrive in the world. It was a better outcome than some of the kids he grew up among. Marlon challenged the students to have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D. Sometimes, things don’t work out. Have something else to fall back on. For example, Ferguson could have played professional basketball but knee injuries stopped him. Today, Marlon uses his knowledge and resources to help our military veterans who need a lending hand to get back on their feet. That probably was not what he envisioned as a teenager but many people are happy that it turned out that way.
While the kids were with us, we provided lunch. We are grateful to Slice on Broadway
for donating several pies to feed these growing kids. By 1 pm, they were back on the bus to return to school. Hopefully, they take the information provided and use it to see “Visions of Opportunity.”
In the four years of the program, RAMP has hosted over 100 students.