The city’s job corps program is providing life-changing opportunities to Fresno youths and young adults.
Just ask Julianna Perez and Camery Jones.
Or Jordan Sengchanh.
They were among the young residents surrounding Mayor Jerry Dyer Tuesday morning at an event celebrating the hiring of more than 100 interns through the One Fresno Youth Jobs Corps.
The program made possible by a $7.4 million state grant focuses on hiring individuals 16-to-30 years old and runs through October 2024. The program offers livable wages and 14 different career pathways.
“I am now someone that my daughter can admire and brag about … being in this program has helped me build up my confidence, and hold myself up to a higher standard,” said Jones, who learned about the internships through social media. “It has opened doors for me in ways that I can’t even think of.”
Who Qualifies for This Program?
The funds for the program were granted to 13 cities across California but can only be used to hire employees who are considered hard to hire.
Meaning: The city focuses on hiring individuals who have either timed out of the foster care system, been affected by the criminal justice system, are former gang members, or grew up in disadvantaged communities.
“These young adults really just, quite frankly, needed an opportunity to prove themselves and they need the opportunity to gain job experience that would prepare them for a future career,” said Dyer.
Since the program’s start, the city has received 326 applications and hired 105 interns — of which 90 are still working for the city. Another 64 applicants are under consideration.
Dyer says interns can choose to work as an administrative clerk, community recreation assistant, accounting clerk, custodian, irrigation specialist, maintenance and operations assistant, plans and permit technician, or water and waste treatment operator, among the many intern positions.
Going the Extra Mile to Ensure Success
Along with a job, the city offers wraparound services tailored to hard-to-hire people.
There are bus passes for free transportation to work, career mentoring, childcare, free work uniforms, and assistance with other types of professional work clothing.
“For those who come to us that are confronted with certain barriers to work or to employment, we have a mechanism to take care of those through wraparound services,” said Dyer.
Internships Are a Pathway to Full-Time Employment
Among many of the interns who have been hired by the city, some are already climbing up the ranks and have acquired full-time job security.
Perez said she started off as a city intern for three months and now is a full-time account FAX clerk.
“Last year I was working at a supermarket as an assistant manager. Now I’m here representing the city of Fresno as a fellow,” said Perez. “I did not imagine myself here, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
In addition, she says she is motivated to finish her education and encourages others to do the same.
Internship Helps Change Lives
“This internship has really changed my life,” said Jones, who is working in the city clerk’s office.
Last year, she was pregnant and stressing about being a single mother that soon would have to provide for her baby — including figuring out a way to pay for childcare.
“Today, I have a reason to put a smile on my family’s face,” Jones says. “It feels good to hear my family speak highly of me working at the city and I have a reason to dress up and be professional.”
Giving Youth a Chance to Find Their Passion
For others who have just started the program, the pathways have jumpstarted interest in a career they didn’t even know about.
Sengchanh, a 17-year-old who spent last year working at McDonald’s, is working 20 hours a week on city vehicles like fire trucks and undercover police cars.
“Coming from McDonald’s, it was a big change in my profession,” said Sengchanh. “But I love where I am at today and I am more than thankful that I work for the city now.”
Sengchanh hopes to land a full-time position with the city.
“You know, I never thought I’d find myself in this profession, but I love doing it, so I do see myself doing it in the future,” said Sengchanh.
Where to Apply
Potential interns can fill out an employment application here.