Services for Youth – Youth Success Stories

Richard Jones
San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board

GenerationGo! is a go-to internship program for youth looking for a foot into the career world. San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board’s GenerationGo! Career Pathways is a dynamic, unique internship program that launches the next generation of youth towards the fast-growing tech field and other employment opportunities.

GenerationGo! partners with employers like Garner Holt Productions, which uses cutting-edge technology to design and produce animatronics for the entertainment industry. Student Richard Jones, whose internship with Garner Holt led to him landing job at the company, is doing just that. Jones is taking advantage of the resources provided by GenerationGo! which enables him to earn college credit while learning a skill that provides work experience.

“Finding out that I got a job with Garner Holt after doing all the internship hours was pretty cool,” said Jones. “I never really thought I could work at a place like this, but I guess they saw that I’m a responsible person.”

Ryan Rainbolt, Director of Educational Programs at Garner Holt, helps to provide a well-rounded environment for their student interns.

Video credit: Workforce Development Board of San Bernardino County

“So my role is to help facilitate experiences that would help our students see the real world of work and the opportunities that are available to them at Garner Holt and other similar work places,” said Rainbolt.

San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, which oversees allocation of funding for GenerationGo!, is part of the America’s Job Center of California - an integrated system of service providers including the Employment Development Department, local business representatives and other public partners.

The Board works to strengthen the skills of the county's workforce through partnerships with local businesses, education and community-based organizations, and programs such as GenerationGo! which provides work-based learning opportunities for high school students. These groups, along with employers and the education community work together to help grow the work force pipeline for the future.

Mariann Johnson, the Board’s Deputy Director explains: “What we’re trying to do is make sure that every kid who’s in a career pathway within our county gets co-enrolled for community college credits so that they take a work readiness class as part of preparing them to go into the workforce.” 

And that’s the goal of Generation Go! - guiding thousands of students through various internships that one day could land them on a solid career path.

girl helping another girl with using a computer.

Jackie Valadez
Madera County Workforce Assistance Center

In the summer of 2017, Jackie Valadez had recently moved from Michoacan, Mexico to Madera with no work history and very limited knowledge of the English language. What Valadez did have, however, was the desire to succeed, and when her aunt and uncle pointed her to the Madera County Workforce Assistance Center, she found just the place to help her.

“I was very nervous, as I couldn’t communicate in English,” said Valadez. “I had to find my way around on my own because my brother was the only person who used to help me - but he moved away when he joined the Marines.”

Valadez’s aunt and uncle knew that the Workforce Assistance Center offered preparatory classes and the exam for a high school equivalency certificate. At the time, Valadez was attending English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Madera Adult School. At the Workforce Assistance Center, she qualified for the English Language Learner Program, which covered the cost of her ESL classes. She was also eligible for the Young Adult Program, and for a Paid Work Experience position doing clerical work.

Valadez was placed in the Workforce Assistance Center front desk so that she could improve her English as well as establish her work history, which would help her find employment and be better prepared in a college setting, according to Charlton Dove, her Workforce Assistance Center Case Manager. Valadez successfully handled all the demands that have been presented to her, Dove says proudly.

“Jackie is a great person overall, very positive, and is always ready to learn something new,” said Dove. “We knew she would benefit from the services we offer, which have the main purpose of serving as a foundation for short-term and long-term goals. We are able to assist people so that they can pursue both their educational and professional goals.”

Valadez credits the Center with helping her reach her goals; she has finished her ESL courses, and in March 2018 she received her High School Equivalency certificate. The Madera Workforce Office was so impressed with Valadez that they hired her fulltime as a WorkforceTech I at the Workforce Assistance Center, where she helps the public at the front desk, and also helps job seekers with job searches and résumé writing in the resource room. “Everything is possible, even though it may be difficult,” she tells them.

The Madera Workforce Office’s Young Adult Program is still sponsoring Valadez for her Microsoft Suite Certification at Madera Adult School. Her long-term goal is to attend college to learn another language, either Punjabi or Arabic, as a way to help local community members, and also earn a degree in broadcast journalism.

girl holding industrial size tools.

Jonae Arias
Sonoma County’s Workforce Investment Board

Jonae Arias grew up with cars, spending early mornings working on vehicles with various family members. Arias wanted to pursue her passions by becoming an auto mechanic but wasn’t sure how to accomplish her goal.

With the assistance of Conservation Corps of North Bay (CCNB), Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps Career Pathways Program (CPP), and Sonoma County’s Workforce Investment Board, Arias was hired as an intern with one of their partners: the Sonoma County General Services Fleet Division. All of these organizations are committed to provide a diverse group of youth and young adults with opportunities to transform their lives through paid work, education and employment.

Arias’ original internship was extended to nine months while she was going to school at Santa Rosa Junior College. Her classes balanced perfectly with the hands-on experience and professional mentorship she received during her internship.

“I’ve amazed myself,” Arias said. “I know how important it is to find something you enjoy learning about and enjoy doing. Through this internship, I learned I have a true knack and passion for fixing broken things. I plan to work hard to make it to the top and be the one that other women look up to.”

During her internship extension, Arias applied for and was hired on as an auto mechanic. This catapulted her into a position with Peterbuilt, working full-time and earning $19 an hour as an auto mechanic. She is doing what she loves.

“The best job is a job you can’t wait to get up in the morning and go to and are not ready to go home at the end of the day. This is the best job I could of ever have imagined!”

In January, Arias was presented with the California Workforce Association’s ‘2019 Dwight Brydie Youth Scholarship Award’ of $1,000. Scholarships are awarded to responsible youth who want to make a better life for themselves, demonstrate leadership potential and/or provide positive role models for other youth, show the ability to make good choices, and who desire to improve their skills and abilities to succeed in the workplace.

Man working with young people

Dominick Dudley
Sonoma County’s Workforce Investment Board

Dominick Dudley felt like he lacked enthusiasm for any particular subject that would steer him toward a career path. He knew he wanted to work with young people and create positive impacts, but didn’t have a specific direction on where to aim his interests and energies.

“I never really had any faith or confidence in myself to do anything because I wasn’t passionate about anything,” Dudley said. And then through the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps Career Pathways Program, one of the programs of the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board, he discovered an internship opportunity at the Sonoma County Water Agency Education Department.

The Career Pathways Program (CPP) provides youth and young adults the opportunity to work for six months performing stream maintenance work for the Sonoma County Water Agency and then work for an additional six months as an intern of one of several fields including water mechanics, fleet mechanics, sanitation systems, education, regional parks and fisheries.

“I was like, that’s what I need,” he said. “I interned there and was surrounded by people who are highly educated and passionate about what they do. And they directly influence thousands of people every day. I get to be a part of that.”

Under the program, Dudley was accepted into a four-month paid internship that was extended to 12 months so he could acquire more in-depth skills while continuing his education at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Dudley always dreamed of working with young people and always thought he was going to do so by becoming a teacher. During his tenure as a CPP intern with the Sonoma Water’s Education Department he discovered that there are other ways to impact and educate young people outside of a traditional classroom setting.

While juggling his internship and school, Dudley applied for and was hired as a Restorative Response Specialist with the Santa Rosa City School District. He will be working with students to implement restorative practices and positive conflict mitigation techniques within two Santa Rosa Schools.

“I get to teach about something I’m passionate about which is saving our Earth and to me that is really special!”

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