“You should listen to what we say. Just because we’re high school students, we still know things,” recommended one of the students from John O’Connell High School.
Earlier this week, several dozen students from the Public Service Pathway at John O’Connell High School presented what they learned about the SFPUC’s Community Assistance Program (CAP) and actions the agency can take to reach more people. The presentation included findings on a survey that the students conducted regarding familiarity with CAP, the SFPUC, and how likely individuals would enroll in the program.
The students shared how the SFPUC could expand awareness of the program through print and digital advertising and word of mouth in targeted neighborhoods, including providing content in multiple languages to reach people whose primary language is not English. The students also shared how building additional partnerships with community-based organizations could help establish more trust with community members, which, in turn, could increase enrollment in the program. Other recommendations from the students included a more accessible online application and staff that speak multiple languages to help guide community members through the enrollment process.
“We recommend the SFPUC meet people where they are at,” recommended one student. “Go to the community rather than have the community come to the SFPUC.
“Make it simple for people to enroll by having materials in their language and staff that look like the community or speak their language,” recommend another student.
“Have ambassadors from the community speak about the program,” shared a student. “Teachers, community-based organizations, local youth, family/parent liaisons at schools, and other professionals can be trusted experts.”
After the presentation, several SFPUC staff provided feedback on the presentation and asked follow up questions about the students’ findings. Students had the opportunity to further explain their recommendations and offer additional ideas.
This Public Service Pathway curricular unit, focused on Water Resources and Affordability, is one of numerous units at John O’Connell focused on water, power, and sewer concepts. The SFPUC’s partnership with John O’Connell High School aims to deepen student awareness of our operations and careers through CS-1081, the Memorandum of Agreement between SFPUC and the SF Unified School District for the John O’Connell Career Awareness Pilot.