Celebrating A Keystone Leader in Career Connected Learning 2022

Published On: July 12th, 2022|Categories: News|
Celebrating A Keystone Leader in Career Connected Learning 2022

The North Central Career Connect Washington Network was launched in 2019 to empower our local communities with the resources, tools and connections needed to close skill gaps for employers and help young people connect their education and training to promising future careers.

In the second part of this series, we celebrate a well-known, trusted and respected individual whose servant leadership inspires others around her to imagine a vibrant connected community to engage in youth development.

This year, the regional CCW Network is honored to give the 2022 Keystone Award to Kristi O’Neill, Omak Senior Education & Employment Advocate with the Foundation for Youth Resiliency & Engagement.

Kristi O’Neill, Omak Senior Education & Employment Advocate with the Foundation for Youth Resiliency & Engagement

In Roman architecture, a keystone is a small stone that holds up the large arches in some of the grandest buildings. The regional network Keystone Award is given to an individual who connects and supports many other partners and efforts to improve the overall quality of the system and bring new opportunities to the region.

Kristi has been on the ground floor of the development of the regional network from the beginning. She held one of the first round tables in the region for community leaders to hear about the vision, plan for the statewide initiative, and become inspired to support the development of young people across the community. She is truly a Keystone Leader.

Kristi continued to champion Career Connected Learning as a Community Engagement Coordinator with Worksource. Here are just some of her accomplishments in this role so far:

  • invested countless hours bringing in an array of business, education and community partners together to benefit youth
  • brought nearly 800 youth to Agroplex for Career Fairs
  • brought dozens of smaller groups of students to meet with local business (ex. Sun Mountain Lodge)
  • assembled virtual opportunities for young people to meet future employers
  • directly supported and counseled young adults seeking career advice
  • supported local businesses to recruit talented employees
  • established a network of caring adults and volunteers who were willing to help out whenever she called

Kristi is the kind of humble, caring, hard-working leader that people genuinely enjoy working alongside. Her reach and impact exceeds the region and is likely felt across the entire state! Kristi takes great pride in the service and support she provides to the community and she passionately advocates for resources at statewide meetings. She leans in to learn about new opportunities, and advocates with legislators and policy makers to ensure that the communities she serves have the resources that they need to be competitive.

“Kristi believes in a purpose for all young people. She is unmatched in her ability to transfer that belief into young people and in her ability to find and create the opportunities they need. We are lucky to have her serving the most rural county in our state, a place where purpose and prosperity are hard to find for those young people furthest from opportunity. Thank you Kristi!”

– Dr. Michelle Sandoval, Co-Executive Director, Co-Executive Director at Foundation for Youth Resiliency & Engagement.

Most recently, Kristi took on a new role at the Foundation for Youth Resiliency and Engagement (FYRE) where she will be closer to the young people she passionately advocates for. In this role, Kristi has secured a new Career Connect Washington Program Builder Intermediary grant to establish a new Career Prep program to help clarify career paths in health care for young people in Okanogan County.

Kristi continues to teach everyone around her about new ways to meet young people where they are and how to work together to build sustainable, equitable paths forward to incredible potential. It’s an honor to have her as an invaluable part of the North Central Career Connect Washington Network.

Kristi O’Neill introduces Family Health Centers as part of a Virtual Meet the Employer Series

More 2022 Career Connected Learning Awards

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Celebrating A Keystone Leader in Career Connected Learning 2022