Qualcomm celebrates 5 years of Hire-A-Youth

On August 9, 2013 Qualcomm celebrated 5 years of Hire-A-Youth (HAY) with a commencement ceremony that recognized 30 graduates of the summer program.

Qualcomm, a global semiconductor company, designs, manufactures and markets digital wireless telecommunications products and services. The Fortune 500 company is San Diego County’s largest for-profit, private sector employer. Qualcomm values youth employment and preparing the current generation for the opportunities of tomorrow.

In 2009, HAY was launched by the San Diego Workforce Partnership (now CONNECT2Careers) and Qualcomm was one of the first companies to sign on for the program. Since 2010, they have fully-funded their 6-week program, which has benefitted over 110 students thus far.

Qualcomm’s HAY program has provided youth the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while working in a variety of departments throughout the company. Youth are paired with sponsors who are able to provide project guidance and introduce youth to meaningful work. 

This year, the youth were selected from 7 local nonprofits including Barrio Logan College Institute, Pro Kids, Reality Changers, Second Chance, San Diego Futures Foundation, San Diego Job Corps and Youth and Leaders Living Actively (YALLA).

Qualcomm partnered with UCSD Extension to create exceptional curriculum to equip each intern with job readiness and life skills training. Students learned interview techniques, how to write a professional resume, create a business plan, and much more. At the commencement, Dr. Ed Abeyta from UCSD Extension notified the HAY participants that they would also receive 8 college preparatory credits. This support amounts to $60,000 in value. Thank you, UCSD Extension and Dr. Abeyta!

During the ceremony, Christopher Yanov, Founder and President of Reality Changers, provided the keynote address in which he encouraged the interns to pursue their career goals and to take advantage of opportunities to learn from others.  Christopher also reminded students that their summer work experience, and the fact that they are able to list Qualcomm on their resumes, will surely open doors.

There was another surprise in store. Manpower also partnered with Qualcomm this year to support the interns. At the commencement, Manpower’s Mel Katz donated a new Kindle Fire and gift cards, one for each of the 24 interns. 

“For the past five years, Hire-A-Youth has been an inspiring and engaging program for our employees here at Qualcomm, shares Ed Hidalgo, Sr. Director of Staffing, Qualcomm. I’ve found that so many professionals desire to give back but feel they don’t have the time in their busy schedules. Bringing volunteerism to the workplace allows our staff to contribute in new ways by mentoring the emerging workforce.”

The success of this program would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of the Qualcomm team. Vance Anderson, Staffing Project Manager, has been a mentor and coordinator for the HAY program since 2009 and was recognized by the students for his integral role. The 2013 graduates presented Vance with a framed photo of the participants, acknowledging his impact on the program. Christi Cline, Program Manager, also played a major role in preparing the students for the future demands of the workplace.