Definition: men·tor /menˌtôr,ˈmenˌtər/
  1. an experienced and trusted adviser.
      synonyms: adviserguidegurucounselorconsultant

  2. confidant(e) "his political mentors"

  3. advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).


Connect with a good mentor  It's the fastest and most effective way for working learners to explore job and career paths: partner with experienced local industrial workers, service sector employees, and professionals who volunteer their time to guide and help new job seekers stay the course. 

How to find one?  Employers extend their reach to local chambers of commerce, schools, youth groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs and the YMCAs, community colleges, GED classrooms, and local workforce development centers, where they post summer, school-time or year-round positions.  Local police departments with community outreach host Police Athletic Leagues across the country, programs offering far more than their name suggests.  In suburban ad urban areas and even some rural areas, police departments have training and teams for all manner of sports, of course, from roller hockey to basketball to martial arts.  But did you know you can learn how to debate, connect with tutors, book time in a recording studio, receive family counseling,  and work with a career coordinator, all under the guidance of a mentor?

Intent on a certain industry or sector? Many local, state, and national organizations advocate for certain populations, skill sets, sectors, industries and more, posting job opportunities and often, ways to help prepare for them.  Given the wide range of their categories, chances are you'll fit into one of them: women in science technology, engineering and math (STEM); Latinos; African American youth; labor unions; ex-offenders; agribusiness; entrepreneurship; the list goes on and on. .   

Many firms take on interns to attract working learners who have an interest in design, materials, production, maintenance or management.   Companies that pair interns and mentors forge an important working relationship to put the new entrant on firm footing. While most interns are paid little, if at all, the remuneration is on-the-job experience and help from accomplished and networked colleagues. No formal mentor program at your workplace? Don't be shy about asking for it. By showing interest and initiative, you distinguish yourself as someone intent on success.  And that's easy for employers to spot. 

Overseeing just one, much less a raft of interns is time-consuming.  But the employer’s investment reaps dividends in the form of would-be new entrants who are highly-tuned to the employer’s interests and anxious to perform.  Employers use interning and mentoring to cultivate new talent, address their own labor shortages, and enhance their productivity; schools like Trace Learning Center develop these programs to convert academic experience into work readiness and job offers; and advocacy groups forge these relationships to advance their own interests. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that both public and private employers are increasing their numbers of interns, and a stunning 40 percent of their new payroll hires come from their intern pool.