Our Workforce Internship Pathways Team has successfully placed four young professionals in a 6-month Winter internship with Akamai Technologies! The newest cohort consists of Ciara, Alex, Patrice, and Jojo - a group of incredibly talented, creative, and driven interns. They will be joining the Customer Support Department, and after successful completion of the internship, will be considered for FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT!
Akamai has committed to offer a Winter and Spring cohort for up to 12 Hopeworks young professionals which opens up 12 new opportunities for permanent employment. The internships are paid, full time, AND offer benefits (which is a first for Hopeworks). Ciara, who was previously an intern with our Training Team talks about how excited she is to begin this new journey.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and excitement that Hopeworks has presented this amazing opportunity to be a part of Akamai's Internship. Over these last few months, the WIP program has helped me sharpen my skills in writing and Customer Service, as well as gain new knowledge in technical skills. With all that I have learned I am prepared to step into this new internship with knowledge and determination of becoming successful from here and into the future.”
This new partnership has promising potential to change the lives of an unlimited amount of young professionals!
We are proud to announce that Web Team Member Avery has been offered a full-time position as a Graphic Design Specialist with the Pennsylvania Convention Center! He is the second young professional within the last few months to receive a full-time position via this new partnership.
Within the last year, Avery has graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design AND successfully completed the Hopeworks training, plus a web internship to the satisfaction of his team and supervisors. In his spare time, Avery maintains a freelance graphic design business, enjoys playing video games, drawing and going to museums.
"My experience at Hopeworks was a great one. In times when I felt doubtful about my future, the people here provided me with support and guidance. At no point did I feel like I was on my own, and I am happy to have met all these wonderful people!”
Hopeworks recently began a WIP partnership with Akamai Technologies as one of our many dedicated hiring partners. Through the work of team members such as Riscee Langhorne, these partnerships will continue to allow young professionals like Olivia to thrive in career paths they may have never considered.
Olivia joined Hopeworks after working in a select number of food service establishments for about 6 years. She has always loved learning about politics, history, art, and psychology. During her time here, Olivia gained technical and soft skills that she will utilize in her career going forward.
Olivia came to Hopeworks with the hopes of transitioning into a new career, but never considered herself to be tech savvy. She will be working as a Customer Support Representative in her new role and is working on getting IT certified through Google and Coursera!
Jeremy Heckman has had a busy, productive and successful year - and it’s not even over yet! Jeremy successfully completed the Hopeworks training, an internship with the Web Department, received his high school diploma and has now entered the IT field with a full time job!
During our first ever ABS graduation this year, Jeremy spoke about the excitement of receiving his diploma, moving on into the professional world and what it all means for him.
“I have officially moved onto the next chapter in my life. I cannot wait to take on bigger and better things now that I am legally recognized as a high-school educated adult!”
Jeremy has always been interested in web development, software, and coding and dreamed of working as an IT specialist. His hard work, dedication and ability to juggle everything happening in his life have made that happen.
Allissa Connor came to Hopeworks after completing high school. She was interested in design and coding and watched her brother Justin succeed at achieving his goals and earn a job as a Salesforce administrator. After working hard to complete the training, complete an internship in Hopeworks web department, and attend college, all while juggling a second and sometimes third job, Allissa has been hired full time at OpenForge as a Quality Assurance Designer.
OpenForge CEO Jedi shared that Allissa will be responsible for testing products and identifying deficiencies within them; as well as working closely with the development team to resolve issues and ensure the delivery of quality products. "She was a good candidate for this position because she is organized and detail-oriented."
Allissa joins Hopeworks alum Jared Bradshaw at OpenForge. Jared was recently promoted to Marketing Coordinator and when a spot opened up, Jedi asked Jared to help recruit other Hopeworks Alumni. "Hopeworks alumni are suited to joining our team as they’re well-rounded, motivated and eager to learn!," said Jedi.
COVID-19 may have presented many challenges but it also offered opportunity -- opportunity to learn what IS possible.
What did we learn? We learned, that the young people who train and work here are resilient and adaptable. Working remotely on virtual platforms they continued to complete training and internships and are getting hired by companies around the region. And many are entrepreneurs, launching start up businesses.
What's changed? They are not going to work in corporate offices but are joining the ranks of remote workforces that will likely remain remote.
The next challenge? Providing professional spaces that might not be available at home.
The solution? The Burton and Mindy Cohen Foundation established the Burton R. Cohen Technology Center located down the hall from Hopeworks with support from David and Jane Hummel and other Hopeworks friends. This co-working space offers alumni memberships that include desk space, "phone booths" for client calls, conference room privileges, and high-speed internet all in a collaborative environment. Additionally, ongoing professional development opportunities and mentorship are provided.
Join us at noon on Thursday, April 1st for the virtual grand opening! Register here.
“When you’re working at home you have to deal with your parents, static, pets, and life in general. When you’re working in an office you can block those things out or deal with them later. Having a space like the Burton R. Cohen Technology Center will help get me and others into the mindset that it’s time to work and we can accomplish more.”
“The Burton R. Cohen Technology Center will offer me a general workspace because I always struggle working from home. Having a remote space, even if it’s just a little corner, makes me feel like I’m getting things done and not interrupting anyone else.”~ Ulises Ventura: Hopeworks Alum, Contractor at PureIntergration, Member of the Burton R. Cohen Technology Center
“The idea was nothing new; it wasn’t as though no one had mentioned wanting to do this or something similar in the past. It just took enough willing young people to take the necessary steps to see it through. Hopeworks is a fantastic organization that, over the years, has provided skills and opportunities to youth, and for as long as it remains, it will continue to do so. As Hopeworks grows in size, it will also continue to improve how it impacts youth as they train and beyond. Thus, the implementation of an Alumni Advisory Board became a reality and members were selected to help lead and provide an “early career” professional perspective for Hopeworks. We want to help push the ideas that will benefit more Hopeworks youth and alumni and find a way to allocate the necessary resources that would support their professional progression.
Members were selected for their passion and desire to serve and recruited across multiple disciplines/fields so they could offer different perspectives on how to approach projects. We have in mind the idea to tackle the business aspects of helping youth as well as emotional and mental health challenges. It is essential to understand youth’s lived experiences, create more positive experiences and help reduce negativity moving forward for the individual and the collective community. In totality, we are here to represent and help significantly increase positive change in the lives of Hopeworks youth and alumni.”
Meet the Hopeworks Alumni Advisory Board Members:
Coming to Hopeworks, I was unsure of what career path I wanted to take. I was working part time as a home health aid and needed a second job. I came across Hopeworks on a job posting site and reached out. I was called the next day for an interview. Thankfully, I took the interview because Hopeworks introduced me to my current career path in website development!
After a long job search during the pandemic, Hopeworks connected me to Being Design, where I now have a professional job! I’m able to continue to grow as a developer and provide website maintenance for their clients. I’m thankful to be able to continue to build my skill set and to learn more everyday.
“Hopeworks has defined a clear career path for me and a still growing skill set in web development. I’m honored to hold the title of an alumna as it shows with hard work, you can move forward and progress.” - Beth Antrilli
Last week, Hopeworks got the great news that Marcel Njighe-Tezeh, a Hopeworks youth, had earned a permanent, high wage position at the Philadelphia Parking Authority in IT Support!
This is not just a job, but a transformative opportunity. Marcel described his journey recently in an essay:
Since I was 17, I have taken care of not just myself but also my beautiful family of 7 people. In high school, I had big dreams, but I imagined that my parents would take care of me. I didn’t think about how I would pay for college, or for food or housing. I didn’t imagine I would have to grow up and start paying for myself, and I didn’t realize to go to college I might have to take out a loan I couldn’t afford. I grew up far away from my extended family in Cameroon. To take care of my family, I have had to work overnight in a warehouse and by morning be on my way to school. Sustaining myself all this while has not been what anyone at my age would wish for but because of my dedication to success and the wellbeing of my family, I have accomplished the unexpected.
Marcel's accomplishment is amazing, but certainly not unexpected. It is an opportunity that he has earned. As his supervisor, Jacqui, shared, “You should be very proud of Marcel. He is quite the HIRE and we all are so happy for him.” In fact, because of Marcel’s success, the PPA has opened up another slot for another Hopeworks youth!
Congratulations to Marcel on his hard work and accomplishment!
Even as the world experiences an unprecedented pandemic and economic downturn, Hopeworks youth -- with their unique mix of technical expertise, drive, and resilience -- are getting and keeping employment in our increasingly digital economy.
Hopeworks is proud to share that, just this month, two Hopeworks youth, Duane Malloy, and Da’Shek Boone, were offered full-time jobs at ACT Software, a leader in the design, development, and sales of interactive software and school supplies. Dajah Payne accepted a job with Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems in customer service.
In addition, Hopeworks own Javon Skates has been offered a permanent spot at PHL Collective, a video game studio comprised of artists and programmers who are passionate about creating unique, bold, and exciting titles. Javon will continue his work doing QA testing and development, and work towards becoming an accomplished Project Manager.
Web intern DeVaughn Martinez leveraged his incredible work ethic and great soft skills into a full-time position at the Woodland Apartments.
Kayla Evans was hired as a permanent employee at Being Design, a branding and innovation consultancy that helps socially conscious organizations increase their impact in a digitally integrated world through strategy, branding, innovation, and prototyping.
Digitally skilled, ready to work, and able to work from anywhere, Hopeworks youth are a hot commodity in today’s market. In fact, as of June 30 -- in the middle of historic layoffs -- Hopeworks alumni maintained a 90% job retention rate. Clearly, our region’s companies are learning what many at Hopeworks have long known -- that our young people are some of the greatest assets a company can have!