Podcast: Ed Hidalgo on Introducing Youth to The World of Work

After almost two decades of leadership in high tech human resource staffing, Ed Hidalgo (@EdHidalgoSD) led the development of a career education program called World of Work. He joined the Cajon Valley Union School District (@cajonvalleyusd) as Chief of Innovation and Engagement Officer and implemented the best K-8 career education program in the country.

The district serves about 17,000 students in 10 elementary and middle schools 15 miles northeast of San Diego. Nearly three-quarters of the students live in or near poverty, and the region is home to many refugees.

With a mission of “Happy kids, healthy relationships, in a path to gainful employment,” the World of Work is the integrating framework for schools in Cajon (#cvwow).

World of Work is 54 immersive units of study that create broad career awareness. Each unit includes four experiences: exploration, simulation, meet a pro, and practice. Explorations include driving questions and key vocabulary for the profession. Simulations allow students to step into the job for a few days as the member of a project team. Students “meet a pro” in person or via Nepris video conference.

Each unit is accompanied by guided by reflection on strengths, interests, and values–it’s personal and powerful. It helps young people imagine and evaluate possible futures.

Hidalgo is joined in this interview by a leader in vocational phycology, Dr. David Blustein, a professor at Boston College and author of a new book The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty.

Key Takeaways:
[2:25] Why did Ed move from Baltimore to Miami?
[2:49] Why did Ed choose human resources to pursue a career in?
[3:42] After working at Manpower for seven years, Ed worked at Qualcomm for 10 years. Ed shares some of the challenges in staffing in the years he worked there.
[5:23] When did Ed leave Qualcomm? Was he there in the early days of ‘smart hiring’?
[6:54] Ed shares some of the big lessons he learned about staffing at Qualcomm.
[7:26] When hiring at Qualcomm, did they rely on traditional measures like where applicants went to school or the grades they received?
[9:16] How has training and development changed in big tech?
[9:57] Ed highlights the importance of the onboarding process for new employees.
[11:22] Ed tells the origin story of the World of Work.
[14:09] Did Ed find it a bit of a culture shock when he shifted into the world of education?[14:50] One of the core elements of the Cajon Valley model: celebrating differences.
[16:44] Why Dr. Blustein starts every chapter in his book, The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty, with ‘Being.’
[18:18] How did Ed develop Cajon’s career education system? And how was it adopted and incorporated at Cajon Valley?
[20:16] How did Ed get such good support from teachers for this system and how did he support the teachers as well?
[22:32] How did Ed convince the school board at Cajon Valley to adopt this system?
[24:06] Tom shares a quick story about the Superintendent of Cajon Valley.
[24:58] Ed gives a snapshot of what one of these units of study looks like in their framework.
[26:58] Tom tells a story about Nepris.
[27:49] Ed elaborates on their partnership with Nepris.
[28:44] Dr. Bluestein chimes in with what he thinks career education should look like and gives his praises to Cajon Valley.
[29:22] Ed elaborates on the secret sauce in this framework: the belief that career development is a human process.
[31:17] Ed speaks about the importance of starting career education early.
[34:30] Tom thanks Ed for the work he’s doing at Cajon Valley and for joining the podcast!

Mentioned in This Episode:
Dr. David L. Blustein
The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty: The Eroding Work Experience in America,
by David L. Blustein

Ed Hidalgo
Cajon Valley Union School District
American Student Assistance (ASA)
John Holland

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1 Comment

Victoria Jones

Cajon Valley Union School District's students have benefitted greatly from the World of Work program that Ed brought to us!

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