All posts by sfyw

Intern Spotlight: Thalia Andrade Dresses to Impress

In YouthWorks it is very rare for our interns to go to work in full business attire, but there are a few that manage to pull off this difficult task. Thalia Andrade, an intern at San Francisco Airport, is one of the interns who is able to make the transformation from a normal jeans and t-shirt wearing high school student to a professionally dressed intern. She does this every time she attends her internship.

One afternoon on the way to work, Thalia had to stop by the YouthWorks office to meet with me. When she got here, she was dressed in her normal school clothes.  However, before she left, she made sure to change into her professional attire. I was impressed because I could tell that dressing in business attire made her feel empowered and professional.

When asked, Thalia says, “I actually enjoy dressing professionally and feel like I fit in more when I do. At first, I wasn’t very comfortable because I didn’t have a large selection of business clothes. My mentor was very helpful and she set me up with a resource where I was able to get free professional clothes. Now, I look forward to dressing professionally.  In the long-run, dressing professionally will allow me to prepare for my future jobs. I suggest that all interns dress professionally if they are able to.”

It is great to see an intern take the initiative and do what they can to help themselves learn and grow. Dressing professionally is an example of how an intern can develop the right habit that will help achieve future goals.

Written by Employment Coordinator Jerome Anderson

Become a YouthWorks Intern for Spring 2011

YouthWorks is currently accepting applications for a small number of openings for the Spring 2011 session. Youth who are accepted into our program will be placed in internships from late January through May 2011.

TO APPLY, please do one of the following:

1)  DOWNLOAD the application here and follow printed instructions to submit before the deadline.

2)  Complete an ONLINE APPLICATION using this link.

*Please NOTE:  if you submit an application online, you must also download, complete and submit a Required Documents Packet in order for your  application to be considered.

3)  Pick up an application from our office at 2012 Pine Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco and submit before the deadline.

FINAL DEADLINE: All applications are due in our office by 5pm on Monday, January 10, 2011. Applications or Required Document Packets received after our deadline will not be considered. 

Accommodating Different Learning Styles at Work

In last week’s mentor workshop, YouthWorks staff and worksite mentors had the opportunity to explore the concept of learning styles.

Each individual has her / his own preferred way to learn something new.  While there are many different possible learning types, there are three basic categories.  Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing information or instructions presented in a demonstration, illustration, or written format.  Auditory learners learn best by hearing or discussing information.  Kinesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach to new tasks.

Knowing an intern’s preferred learning style(s) can help worksite mentors to provide instruction in a way that can be most easily understood and remembered. In our workshop, mentors were grouped by learning style to come up with strategies for providing instruction to different types of learners. 

Visual learners were the most numerous group.  Their recommended instructional strategies for those of their type included:

  • Create task lists for visual learners, or support interns in keeping their own lists.
  • Demonstrate how to do something and have intern observe and take notes (both for initial instructions and to point out errors).
  • Where available, use instructional videos or podcasts.
  • Create and post diagrams, photos, charts or legends for important technologies or processes in the office.
  • Encourage youth to take written notes or to draw pictures, and provide a place to keep those notes for regular reference.

Auditory learners suggested the following instructional ideas:

  • Provide clear and concise verbal instructions to auditory learners.
  • Highlight key words in your instruction, and make sure interns know what they mean.
  • Ask the intern to repeat back a set of instructions to ensure s/he understands it.
  • Discuss the full scope of a project with an intern to provide context.
  • Invite questions and talk through all problems throughout the learning process.

The Kinesthetic group prioritized strategies such as:

  • Provide hands-on opportunities for youth to learn from experience.
  • Encourage youth to try things and to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Enable youth time for experimentation
  • Provide opportunities for youth to write down instructions or to physically describe how they will approach a new task.
  • Assign tasks that have opportunities for physical involvement.

Hopefully these ideas will support mentors in continuing to expand their own strategies for providing effective instructions to interns, and to decrease possible challenges in communication at the workplace.

Intern Perspective: The Public Defender’s Office in Action

Victoria C currently work as an intern in the Public Defender’s Office. About two weeks ago, she went to court to observe an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office in action.  This is her account of that experience:

The courtroom is located in the Hall of Justice, and it was really huge. Seeing crowds of people dressed in formal suits and busy walking to their courtrooms made me very nervous. I eventually found the courtroom where my mentor told me go and watch, and it was pretty empty. I always thought that the cases that were being heard are always like in the movies, but it was different. I was one of the few people observing, and the courtroom wasn’t really that big.

Just watching and listening to how Abigail, the Volunteer Attorney at the PD’s, fought for her client’s case and rights was really great. Sitting there for about four hours while listening to the evidence and arguments being presented wasn’t boring at all. It was really intense in there, and I felt really excited every time Abigail would yell out “Objection!” to what the District Attorney said.

Being in court is just like fighting in a battle, except the attorney is the one that is representing his/her client’s future. Interning at the Public Defender’s Office so far has taught me this.  The experience provides me with such a close-up look at what’s done behind the scenes.

I really do hope to go back to Court soon and observe more cases, because this was a really great experience. I’m proud to say that I’m part of the Youth Works program, because I’ve been able to learn so much that is useful for my future.

Pictured:  YouthWorks interns and staff meet with Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Introducing Skill Enrichment Workshops

This year, our Youth Leadership Team are partnering with staff to create a series of four Skill Enrichment Workshops for all of our interns.  These workshops will provide youth interns (and the Youth Leadership Team) with opportunities to gain skills, share experiences, and learn from one another over the course of the year.  The skill enrichment sessions will complement our formal workshop series.

During our first skill enrichment workshop, the Youth Leadership Team and staff presented new workshop journals to youth participants and led youth in a series of team building and reflective exercises about their new internship.  These activities were designed to help youth get to know one another and to help them get comfortable with sharing their work-based experiences.

Measuring Youth Progress

We know that youth gain important skills and learn new behaviors during the course of their YouthWorks internships.  We know this because every year youth and worksite mentors tell us about the great progress that interns have made at work.

For 2010-2011, we are striving to measure that growth, to understand how individual participants and the entire class of interns grow over the course of their YouthWorks experience.

We are currently meeting with youth and worksite mentors to document each youth’s starting point.  During these baseline assessment meetings, we will document each intern’s current level of mastery of specific tasks and technologies, as well as their mastery of the following YouthWorks work readiness competencies: Workplace communication, Collaboration, Adaptability, Productivity, Responsibility and Effort, and Initiative

    Using the information from these baseline assessments, each intern will create an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) to complement their YouthWorks experience.  These IDPs will help youth consider their long-term goals and then create plans for the year which support their progress towards these goals.  Each youth will establish career exploration and preparedness goals, educational goals, and work readiness goals.

    Our understanding of each youth’s starting point and goals for the year will enable worksite mentors and staff to better plan for a successful year.  At the middle of the program, we will re-assess progress and adjust goals for milestones that have been met.  At the end of the year, we should all have a much clearer understanding of what we’ve collectively accomplished this year.

    Fall Internships Launched

    The SF YouthWorks 2010-2011 school year program has successfully launched!  We have been busy, and are off to a great start.  Over the past few weeks we were able to accomplish the following:

    • Interview, select, hire and place over 150 youth interns for the school year.  We have a strong group of youth interns this year, representing youth from every community in San Francisco.  We are thrilled to be working with them.
    • Provide Pre-Employment training for all youth participants, to prepare them for a successful transition to their new internship in city government.  This 2-hour training session is designed to help youth prepare for their new roles as an intern and program participant.
    • Implement the first of our mandatory biweekly workshops.  This year, youth will be attending workshops every two weeks with their Employment Coordinator, to supplement their learning on the job.  Formal workshop will cover topics such as money management, career exploration, resume writing, and transition planning.  Skill enrichment sessions will provide a more informal environment for youth to share challenges and accomplishments and practice behaviors necessary for job retention and success.
    • Launch our new baseline assessment process. Youth, worksite mentors and Employment Coordinators will work together to determine the intern’s initial level of competency on a number of job skills, and to create a development plan for the year.  In hearing about this new program element, DPH mentor Margaret Fisher commented, “The new system of meeting with the students to evaluate their baseline starting skills level and then monitoring progress throughout their internship was clear and detailed. It is  just what I need to feel prepared to help move my new intern along the continuum of skills needed to be successful in the workplace.”

    We are also looking forward to exciting things in the next month or so.  Our Job Readiness Goal Setting and Money Management workshops will take place in November, and our next worksite mentor training is scheduled for early December.  Stay tuned!

    Pictured:  Employment Coordinator Camile Richard discusses internship openings with youth candidate.

    Introducing the 2010-2011 Youth Leadership Team

    YouthWorks is proud to introduce our new Youth Leadership Team, joining our staff in supporting interns and worksite mentors this year.

    • Robin Bonner is a senior at Downtown High School who interned with Supervisor Bevan Dufty last year.  Robin envisions a career in public service in her future.
    • Stephen Li is a senior at George Washington High School who worked as an intern at MUNI last year.  Stephen has extensive experience working with kids as a volunteer.
    • Zakiya Percy is a senior at Galileo who interned with the Department of Public Works this summer.  Zakiya’s career plan is to become a paramedic and then a firefighter.
    • Lana Tauzhnyanskaya is a senior at Galileo who interned at the Randall Museum and Child Support Services.  Lana plans to go college and medical school after graduating.
    • Andrew Wu is a senior at Ida B. Wells who interned in the Public Defender’s Office last year.  Andrew intends to attend San Jose State University and study criminal justice.

    This group of talented youth will be supporting the program in many ways this year, partnering with staff to enrich the experience of our interns.   YLT will design and co-facilitate workshops for youth interns every week and for worksite mentors in January, provide input to help improve program strategies and materials, and serve as ambassadors for our program in the community.

    We feel very fortunate to have such a talented team on board for this year’s program!

    Welcome to Employment Coordinator Larry Berry

    SF YouthWorks is happy to announce that Employment Coordinator Larry Berry has joined our team.

    Larry was born and raised in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.  He has been involved in youth development since high school, serving as a youth leader for the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP).  After high school Larry worked as the MYEEP Youth Leadership Coordinator for 2 years before returning to San Francisco State University to obtain his degree in Urban Planning.  He has also worked as the Assistant Academic Coordinator for College Track and assisted with planning research to help improve San Francisco neighborhoods.

    Larry enjoys working to help youth be successful and looks forward to creating meaningful internship opportunities for youth with barriers to employment. He currently works as an employment coordinator and liaison between Youthworks and the Independent Living Skills Program.  He will be managing internships in multiple city departments.

    Gearing Up for Fall Internships

    YouthWorks staff are getting ready for the influx of new interns who will begin work in mid-October.  We received hundreds of applications for the school year program from youth throughout San Francisco.  After reading through all applications as a team, we have selected a large group of youth to invite in for interviews over the next two weeks.  We plan to identify over 150 new interns to participate in the program.

    Our worksite mentors are also preparing for their new interns by clarifying tasks and projects for them to work on.  This year we will place interns in thirty different city departments, ranging from the SF Airport to the City Attorney’s office to the Department of Building Inspection.  In each participating department, dedicated mentors have volunteered to supervise and mentor a San Francisco youth for the school year, overseeing their on-the-job experience and helping them to develop awareness of future careers.

    On Tuesday, we held a mentor networking and training event to bring mentors and staff together to discuss the upcoming program year.  One workshop activity was to identify mentor best practices in orienting new interns during their first week.  Some shared strategies include: ensuring youth understand the work of the department, providing tours that include where the bathroom is and where s/he can find a snack, introducing youth to coworkers, and establishing mutual expectations for the year.

    At the workshop, we also discussed a new tool for this year, a Baseline Assessment Form.  This tool asks mentors to assess youth’s initial level of mastery of key tasks, technologies, and the YouthWorks Work Readiness Competencies (communication, collaboration, adaptability, productivity, and responsibility/effort).  This snapshot of the youth’s starting point will enable us to make clear plans for development and to measure growth over the course of the program.

    We’re looking forward to another great year of youth internships in SF City government.

    Pictured:  YouthWorks worksite mentors share strategies to orient new interns.