Technical Writer & Program Manager Opening

Check This Out!  Another New Position Now Open…
CustomED is hiring a full-time Program Manager / Technical Writer to develop/write program materials as well as manage and coordinate a variety of projects for our clients, partners, and their initiatives/programs/events.  For additional information and application instructions, CLICK HERE.


Visual Communications Coordinator

Join Our Team: New Position Now Open…
CustomED is hiring a full-time Visual Communications Coordinator to design and create visual communication elements for program materials, marketing, web, and other project needs.  At least 25% of this position will also involve management and coordination a variety of projects for our clients, partners, and their initiatives/programs/events.  For additional information and application instructions, CLICK HERE.


March REACH Job Training

The Power of First Impressions

Reach Job Training #3 was all about impressions. First impressions set the stage for how people are judged both personally and professionally, which is important for REACH participants as they prepare to step into real-world positions. Once a first impression is made it cannot be taken back, so it needs to be a positive one. REACH participants had the chance to leave positive impressions on DC professionals who were kind enough to volunteer their time to conduct live practice interviews later in the day.

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In keeping with the theme, the day started off with a session on interview preparations and first impressions. And guess who made their third Reach Job Training appearance? The ducks! Participants were tasked with assigning the ducks positions in a company based solely on their appearance.  It was interesting to see the impact first impressions had on the ducks’ career paths!  After teams discussed and developed their nonprofit organization’s mission statement, vision, structure, event, and funding plan, they split up into three sessions on writing (format and layout), the top ten workplace issues they might face, and a step-by-step guide to their service projects. While participants were in session, volunteers from a variety of organizations and backgrounds started arriving for a brief orientation before the practice interviews began.

Live Practice Interviews

It’s time to step into the hot seat! With resumes in hand, participants were able to choose from disciplines such as political science, health, IT, business and engineering for their interviews. This was a great opportunity for participants to get real-life practice before they start applying for positions and internships in their respective fields. Volunteers provided feedback on their interviews, which we will discuss next month.


After lunch, participants broke into two groups for sessions with very different, yet equally important subjects: writing cover letters and using math in everyday life. During the writing session, participants learned that cover letters are effective tools that expand upon their resumes and help differentiate them from other applicants. They developed their cover letters and will receive feedback next month. The session on math in everyday life illustrated the impact math has on all career fields. Participants were tasked with translating written data into an easily readable graph.

For the second session in a row, participants were privileged to have another illuminating guest speaker. Ralph McCloud, a former Councilman and Mayor Pro Tempore of Fort Worth, Texas, offered some enlightening advice and thought-provoking stories. He stressed the importance of remaining loyal to your community and finding what really interests you.

Crisis Averted

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Since participants will form nonprofit organizations and plan an event with real donors, it’s imperative they be prepared for a possible crisis! The session on public relations and crisis management offered participants an introduction to PR, and stressed the importance of relationship building and gaining positive reputations. But this wasn’t simply a lecture; teams were given crisis scenarios and were tasked with running a press conference for their nonprofits. Teams had to figure out their organization’s stance, choose a spokesperson (or two), and handle questions from the “media.” They faced some real zingers, but everyone succeeded in preventing any full-blown crises!

It was a busy, productive day that ended with some time for participants to reflect on everything they learned. The next session will be held on Saturday, April 5th and will focus on the power of “one.”


February REACH Job Training


This month’s REACH Job Training session kicked off with a lesson on public speaking – participants learned how to properly address their audience. And the rubber ducks made a return appearance! Teams were once again tasked with saving the rubber ducks by elevating them on their tables using only the materials provided. Sadly, some ducks were sacrificed, but it was a great way to get everyone’s brains into gear.


Next, participants were broken into groups to learn about service projects, the dos and don’ts of LinkedIn profiles, and the importance of using key points in writing. During the writing session, participants pulled out key points in an article, and create their own BuzzFeed-style lists. During the LinkedIn session, students were given actual examples of LinkedIn profiles from staff and alumni, and went over their strengths and weaknesses (Hint: no selfies).

There’s No “I” in “Team”

During the working lunch, participants vied to be hired to one of six teams. Each team is tasked with creating a nonprofit organization over the course of six months and securing donors, so hiring the right team members was important and tensions were high! Participants were hired, traded, and fired before the hour was done. Luckily, everyone was hired and the teams are well on their way to creating imaginative, successful nonprofit organizations.

After lunch, everyone’s teamwork skills were put to the test during sessions on STEM and prioritization. The session on STEM careers had students building bridges from blocks and straws to demonstrate the STEM skills needed to complete such a project. Likewise, the session on prioritization forced students to step out of their comfort zones and into the streets of Gotham City to help Batman prioritize and schedule his day with a life-or-death crisis or two thrown in. A lot was on the line, but everyone came through in the end!


A Career That Fascinates You

Great guest speakers have a way of grabbing our attention and having a lasting effect on the way we think. We were extremely lucky to have Dr. Branche, Principal Associate Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Director of the Office of Construction Safety and Health. Highly charismatic and knowledgeable, Dr. Branche spoke about the impact science has had on her life both personally and professionally. She stressed the importance of working diligently for success and choosing a career that fascinates you.

The day ended with alumni-run presentations on internship basics and transitioning into the workforce as well as time for teams to brainstorm and reflect on the rewarding day they had. We will reconvene on March 8th for REACH Job Training round three!


REACH 2014

On January 11th, CustomED facilitated this year’s first REACH Job Training Session, which focused REACH Session1 Photo #3-croppedon preparing DC-area college students for the current job market.  Students started the day with Rusty McCarty who taught the art of introductions.  Students’ problem solving skills were challenged in a group activity.  Six teams competed to create the tallest platform from materials such as plates, cups, and rubber bands. Rubber duckies were placed on top and the team that “rescued” the most ducks won!  Next up were sessions on professional etiquette, resume development, and LinkedIn profiles.

DREACH Session1 Photo #2-croppeduring the afternoon, students tackled personal finances and budgeting, delved into time management and STEM careers, and sharpened their presentation skills by creating and presenting entertaining BuzzFeed-style lists of workplace dos and don’ts.  Teams developed nonprofit companies that they will manage throughout the remainder of the program.  At the end of the session, everyone had a chance to reflect upon their lives and plan ahead for next month’s session (February 8th)!


New Position Now Available with CustomED

We are excited to announce a new position now open for application with CustomED.  Please follow the link below to get the full description and application instructions:

Marketing and Communications Assistant
CustomED is hiring a full-time Marketing and Communications Assistant to support the operations of a variety of educational programs.  We are looking for someone extraordinary to fill this position. You must be flexible and have excellent communication (verbal, written, public speaking), social, organizational, decision-making, reporting, and coordination skills in order to do this job!  We are looking for enthusiastic and eager candidates that can start immediately and are looking to grow and expand with our organization!  You should ONLY apply if this describes you.