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March 4, 2014

Last fall, 20-year-old Chelsea Ross needed help landing a job. Like many young adults in San Diego, Chelsea had little work experience but was highly motivated to finish her education and start a career.

After a family friend referred her to SDWP’s youth programs, Chelsea enrolled in the International Rescue Committee’s Connect2Work, a work-readiness training program that serves at-risk and low-income students. Young adults met once a week for 16 weeks, learning how to prepare an effective résumé, apply and interview for a job, and succeed in an entry-level position. They also improve their skills in conflict management, customer service and professional communication. After the training, participants are placed in paid internships that provide hands-on experience in the career path of their choice. 

Chelsea’s paid internship with The AjA Project allowed her to build her résumé and work in a fast-paced environment, all while doing what she loves—photography. 

“This internship has been a great opportunity,” Chelsea shared. “Not only am I learning general office skills, but I am now able to use a Mac, expanding my computer skills beyond a PC. I also manage photos using Adobe Bridge and I analyze data from Excel spreadsheets.”

Even though her internship is coming to an end, Chelsea is pleased to continue volunteering with The AjA project and is currently an assistant instructor, teaching an art and photography class to middle school students as part of an afterschool program.

“Chelsea is a team player,” shared Julia Richardson, program and artistic coordinator for the organization. “Her interest in photography, willingness to help and her reliability makes her an asset to The Aja Project. We are happy to have her on our team.”

Youth programs like Connect2Work are setting young adults up for success. In addition to her work with The AjA project, Chelsea is just a few weeks away from completing her high school diploma. Chelsea is now on a meaningful career path and well on her way to meeting her personal and professional goals.

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