This year, Avenues for Justice’s HIRE Up program has focused largely on job readiness and workforce development. We have increased the number of onsite OSHA-30 training classes, added CPR, food protection and food handlers certification classes, and hosted two Workforce1 job development fairs. We are pleased to announce that after a successful paid internship pilot cohort in the Spring, we are starting a second, larger cohort in October with 29 AFJ Participants interning for 125hours at 18 different hosting sites throughout New York City. Since July, Court Advocates Julia and Shantel, have established partnerships with a diverse and exciting list of local businesses, majority are BIPOC-owned ranging from yoga studios to events and catering companies, to host our Participants.
In September, AFJ screened 40 Participants through a rigorous employment application process. Julia and Shantel focused on ensuring that candidates were employment ready, matching them with employers in industries which Participants were interested in working in. Placement was determined by a number off actors---including an applicant’s prior work experience, their professional strengths, their own assessment of their ability to work in certain fields, their preference for fast-paced environments, and their interest in working front of house or behind the scenes. The goal being to place each Participant in an internship which will build work character and provide a path forward to employment success.
After the application process, 29 Participants were selected and they attended a mandatory orientation session at their respective community centers. Julia and Shantel covered such topics as workplace etiquette, attire requirements, onboarding and payroll expectations, and workplace culture. At the end of September, AFJ hosted an Internship Networking Event at our Lower East Side community center where our Participants were able to connect and engage with their employers.
Shantel shared how “the meet and greet between interns and the businesses was an incredible success. After meeting all of the Participants, one employer who had originally stated that they only had capacity for one intern requested a second AFJ intern.” Several Participants even had the opportunity to change their internship placements based on their conversations with employers at the meet and greet.
Julia noted how “we put in a lot of work this summer and after the meet and greet finished, it was clear that it had paid off. It was a very proud moment for AFJ.”
We look forward to sharing updates as these internships get underway in October so make sure to follow us on Instagram.