My first YW placement was with Reyad Shah who works with the Framingham Public Schools in the Community Resource Development Department (CRD). Alongside Reyad, I found a passion for business, relishing everything he taught me about marketing, data analytics, and entrepreneurship. And then, I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the creation of Framingham High School’s Alumni Office. I became Manager of Administrative Operations for the Office and alongside my three student teammates, I explored what it meant to build a business from the ground up. Working with Tiffany Lillie, Najee Nunnally, and Reyad as my supervisors, I also learned the importance of support, and silliness, in management, a lesson that I have taken with me and repeat as “Be serious about what you do, but don’t take yourself too seriously”.
The summer before my Senior Year, I was a part of the YW program and placed with the FPS CRD department. Throughout the summer, I learned about supply chains, event planning, and the importance of teamwork. My first YW summer ended with a presentation at the Commonwealth Corporation YouthWorks Summit at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where I collaborated with a fellow YW participant to lead and present on the cultivation of professionalism in the workforce, or in other words a “professionality”. During my first YW summer, I harnessed the lessons of Collaboration and Communication.
Last summer, I put into practice dependability and initiative when Kevin asked me to be the Lead Project Manager for the 14-15yo Oral History Project, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on individuals in the Metro South/West community. I was in constant contact with students, sending emails, reminders, answering questions, and loving every second that I could solve a problem a student presented. In result, I created a Google Site (https://sites.google.com/view/thecovid-19impact/home) that hosts all of the incredible work that students put in to create professional interviews and articles depicting the experiences of their friends and families during the pandemic. It may seem that I was the teacher last summer, but I learned as much, perhaps more, from the students I led, and I am infinitely proud of the work that these young people accomplished.
My summers with YW paved the way to where I am now. I recently completed my first year at UMass Amherst, and I have spent this summer interning with both MassHire, and the consumer product giant Newell Brands. I came into this program, this organization, this team with a drive to succeed. YouthWorks harnessed my passion and determination and gave me the opportunity to build my own professionality, make an impact in my community, and foster the skills of communication, collaboration, dependability, and initiative that I will take with me long after my YouthWorks summers.
My advice in the next coming weeks is to ask questions. In the workforce, curiosity leads to learning, and learning leads to success. If you are interested in that position, if you are confused about that process, do not hesitate to ask those around you. You’ll see that as you as you ask questions, you’ll get to know the other employees working with you, and you’ll form relationships that are both genuine and professional. The concept of networking, of forming and using connections to advance your career, begins now. Take this summer to have those conversations with your manager, to get to know your coworkers, to network. Most importantly, speak with your supervisor about your goals, ideas for your workplace, and keep a constant line of communication. Your supervisor has the potential to be an incredible mentor for you that you can lean on even after the end of your placement. Your summer with YouthWorks, your involvement in your community, is your first step on your career journey and the connections you make know have the potential to help you far into the future. A career path can be long, winding, and often veers from its original route, but it yours to travel and pave. And of course, we at MassHire are here to support you along your way. Thank you, and congratulations on your YW placement!