As a young undergraduate in Washington DC way too many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about career building. I knew I wanted to be in the wine business, so I set my sights on the companies whose work I admired and contacted the top marketing officers to ask for informational interviews. Thirty years ago, folks had a little more time before cell phones and email, so it was easier to secure seeing high-level people. Today with so many talented young people out there and not enough jobs for them, it’s harder to build the skills needed to advance in the workplace. I have always remained grateful to those people who helped me as a young aspiring professional, and devote time despite a crazy work week to make sure I make myself available for informational interviews. Some folks that have an even more challenging time are young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods and backgrounds who have even bigger obstacles to overcome in terms of finding employment. Thankfully, an organization here in the Bay Area, New Door Ventures, was introduced to me by my friend Russel Thompson. New Door Ventures works to build a bridge between companies and young people who have all the potential but few connections in the business world. This spring, we had the pleasure of working with Jeannetta Page from Oakland, a candidate from New Door Ventures.
Amanda Rodriguez, Youth Development Specialist with New Door, describes it as a group that provides the hardest-to-employ youth – those in the 16-21 year age-range who are disconnected from jobs and education – with guaranteed real jobs year-round, along with the training and ongoing support to make sure they can succeed. Providing a minimum of 130 paid jobs annually in a wide variety of sectors, New Door helps at-risk youth not only find paid jobs, but jobs where they develop marketplace-relevant skills and can feel proud of their accomplishments. In addition to earning a paycheck, youth interns develop hard job skills, such as bicycle repair and screen-printing, while also learning soft job skills like professionalism, time management, workplace communication and teamwork.
Charles Communications Associates participates in the Ally program where New Door partners with businesses and organizations in the local community who provide real jobs for youth. New Door pays for the intern’s wages, as well as provides all of the HR and administrative support. In return, the partner business provides 10 to 15 hours of meaningful work each week to the intern over the course of the 3 - month internship. Ally partner industries include bakeries, photographers, law firms, pet hospitals, tech companies, and many more.
We asked Jeannetta what her experience working with CCA was like for her and she shared, “I’ve had a great experience working at New Door Ventures. They helped me learn so much about keeping a job and how important it is to respect other employees. They also helped me really sit down and think about what I wanted to do with my life. New Door Ventures is a really great opportunity for those who are seeking more experience in working with other people, and the opportunity to finish school. I recently got hired for a three-month internship at Charles Communications Associates. I worked in the office 3 days a week with four other employees who are the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. I’m learning how to file, organize, learn more about using computers, and to communicate better with new people. I’m glad I got this opportunity to experience learn different abilities.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the organization and how your company might help, please visit www.newdoor.org or call me, Kimberly Charles at 415-701-9463. I’d be happy to share our experience with you. As I told Jeannetta, she wasn’t the only one who learned valuable lessons from the experience. Namaste!