Transition to Adulthood Program Prepares Students for the Work World with Practical Experience and Leadership Training

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In order to ensure that the high school students are prepared for college and careers, the Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP) not only provides instruction on study skills, SAT prep, time management and leadership – it also matches students with summer job opportunities in New York.

This summer, 56 of the program’s 59 student participants were placed in paid internships throughout New York, in fields ranging from health care to retail to entertainment. This represents the highest number and the greatest percentage of students placed in summer jobs in the program’s 3 year history. Students who were not placed this summer opted out of the employment program because of family obligations or travel.

Program Manager Mustafa Tabakovic said that the program is dedicated to matching the students with job opportunities that will provide rich learning experiences – not just a paycheck. “We do workshops with the students where we discuss with them what they would like to be in the future and what fields they would like to work in. We take that information and try to match the students with their preferences,” said Tabakovic.

This year, students were placed in one of eight sites for the 6-week internship program, including a doctor’s office, summer camps, the Catholic Charities Community Services Thrift Store, and El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center – a leading educational and cultural institution. At El Barrio, 12 students who have expressed interest in working in film or video production worked with experienced media producers to cover important issues in the local community.
During a monthly contractor meeting, the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), publicly recognized Catholic Charities’ El Barrio work site as one of the best they have ever seen in DYCD funding.

Program manager Laviene Faniel from the DYCD said, “I love the [El Barrio] space. The firehouse is one of the most structured sites I visited ever. They have a very impressive learning curriculum that proves the interaction with the students during their seven weeks of employment will be amazing.”

Youth program coordinator Christy Mathurin emphasized how Catholic Charities makes a special effort to match students with work opportunities where they can gain practical experience to support their future careers. In addition, TAP provides students with leadership training so that they can hit the ground running at their summer jobs.
“Students are able to work in higher level positions because of the leadership training and the opportunities we provide,” she said.

The students are also supported throughout the year with financial literacy classes, where instructors speak to them about money management, the use of credit and debit cards, and the importance of saving. Tabakovic stressed how important it is to educate students in this area so that they are able to responsibly manage their income and expenses when they enter the work world.

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