Back to School with YIG Insight from Placer County
This guest blog is provided by Heidi Kernytsky, Human Resources Analyst, Placer County, HKernyts@placer.ca.gov
As students head back to school this fall, many from Placer High School, in Auburn, California, may have a different idea of what they may want to be when they “grow up” thanks to their participation in the first Annual Placer County Youth in Government (YIG) Day.
What is YIG Day?
Placer County created and hosted YIG Day to educate students on the wide variety of career paths the county has to offer with a simulated “day in the life” of county employees, creating a tangible and positive experience for the students.
The date of the event, May 8th, was selected specifically to coincide with Public Service Recognition week. Opening remarks from Dave Defanti, Deputy County Executive Officer, highlighted the importance of young people as the future workforce. Students then embarked on tours of county departments, including the Auditor-Controller’s Office, Community Development Resource Agency (CDRA), Health and Human Services (HHS) Animal Services, Public Works and the Sheriff’s Office, allowing them to experience a behind-the-scenes look at county operations.
During the lunch hour, students were able to network with county staff and peruse interactive activity stations provided by various departments, including:
- Auditor-Controller’s Office – Interactive educational game about payroll, property taxes and audits;
- CDRA – Creating model buildings and bridges;
- HHS – Animal Services – Live Guinea Pigs from the Placer County shelter demonstrating and training the proper care and handling of small animals;
- Public Works – Building and launching bottle rockets;
- Sheriff’s Office – Fingerprint dusting demonstration and training
Concluding the event, Placer County Supervisor, Robert Weygandt addressed the students on the importance of public service, sharing that “people in government understand that they are in public service, and what they are doing is more about their community, and is bigger than them; they are part of a team that can affect people’s lives every day and in a positive way.” These remarks embody the mission of Youth in Government Day.
The Placer County Human Resources team embarked on the creation of a Youth in Government Day after learning about Sacramento County’s inaugural YIG Day during fall of 2018. We are fortunate to have learned from their experience. Each of our counties benefited from multiple partners supporting our projects. In addition to Sacramento County, we received support from:
- Institute for Local Government;
- Innovative Pathways to Public Service;
- Placer Union High School District;
- Placer County of Education; and
- The Golden Sierra Workforce Board.
Thanks to our Public Information Office for creating a wonderful video of the event.
Since hosting YIG Day, Placer County Human Resources has created additional partnerships with local schools and are currently working on new projects with school district partners in Roseville and Colfax. Additionally, we are preparing for the second annual YIG Day, anticipated to take place in Spring 2020.
Placer County continues to be part of a regional effort, led by the Institute for Local Government (ILG), focused on pathways to public service and school-municipal partnerships. ILG and other local governments will host a series of career days in November. Our county HR team will host students on November 7th.
Picture Yourself in Local Government
One way to help young people be prepared for job site visits is to give them a foundation for understanding county services. ILG’s curriculum, Picture Yourself in Local Government, provides students information about the structure and functions of counties as well as cities and special districts. The curriculum can help residents, local agency staff and students alike learn about the roles, responsibilities and processes of local government. PYLG includes content for:
- Scripts for student tours of county offices
- New staff and intern orientation materials that cover local government basics
- Background material for classroom speaking engagements
- Boards, commissions and leadership academies about local government structure and functions
If your county wants more information on the curriculum or is interested in hosting a Youth in Government Day, contact Randi Kay Stephens at the Institute for Local Government to get started. You can also check out these great ILG resources:
- Governments Engaging Youth Toolkit: www.ca-ilg.org/geytoolkit
- Picture Yourself in Local Government: www.ca-ilg.org/pylg
- Youth in Government Day Resources: http://pathways2publicservice.org/collaborations/youth-in-government/