Marisol, West Mesa High School


Marisol will be the first in her family to attend college. She has career aspirations and big goals for herself in the field of Social Work. But, Marisol did not always have this vision for her future. When she was given the opportunity to participate in an internship through YDI and a special program titled Escalera at West Mesa High School, new doors opened for her and she realized her potential as a career ready student. According to Marisol, she began using ACT’s Career Ready 101 course to understand what her natural cognitive skills were and connect them with a possible job field. While being an Escalera student, she also began using ACT’s KeyTrain® modules in preparation for the WorkKey® tests, which in turn prepared her for her ACT college exam.

“The Escalera program, Career Ready 101 & KeyTrain modules led me to set higher goals for myself. The career clusters helped me understand and connect my skills with a career field and reinforced the skills I already had.”

Marisol credits the KeyTrain modules and pre-tests in helping her attain higher ACT scores to be more competitive in her college applications, particularly in science. ACT’s KeyTrain module “Locating Information” helped Marisol in the science section of her ACT exam.

The Escalera program along with ACT’s Career Ready 101 and KeyTrain tools also opened the door to another internship with the Albuquerque Police Department this summer. Marisol recently finished her internship with YDI, under the mentorship of Natalie Chavez, YDI Elev8 New Mexico Community Engagement Coordinator. Additionally, Marisol is taking Philosophy and Public Speaking at UNM. In her senior year, she is taking four Advanced Placement classes, as well as participating in track and cross-country.

About ACT’s Career Ready 101, KeyTrain, WorkKeys & The NCLR Escalera Program 

ACT’s WorkKeys is a job skills assessment that measures cognitive skills and helps employers identify candidates for their positions. ACT’s KeyTrain is an interactive tool that helps people build those cognitive skills. ACT’s Career Ready 101 is a comprehensive program that brings together courses from both ACT KeyTrain and the ACT Soft Skills Suite. The program offers an integrated approach to exploring careers and their skill requirements and builds life-literacy through lessons such as financial awareness and job searching.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) implemented Escalera, a national grant-awarded program serving Latino youth. YDI was awarded an Escalera program through a partnership between the Unidos Project, Innovate+Educate, UNM, Enlace, CNM Community College, and West Mesa High School. The program promotes economic mobility for Latino youth by increasing educational attainment, career planning, and access to information about advanced careers.