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Nine students finish ‘soft skills’ internships at Phoenix City HallNine students finish ‘soft skills’ internships at Phoenix City Hall<div class="ExternalClassDFBD715189944A29BFC8DA3826076CB0"><p>No expectations. That’s what nine young men and women agreed they carried into Phoenix City Hall at the start of their internship programs this summer. A new set of skills is what they said were carried out after 100 hours on the job for city of Phoenix.</p><p>Phoenix area businesses are often concerned about the lack of soft skills brought onto the job by newly hired, young workers. Soft skill exposure is one of the objectives for the Phoenix Youth Reinvest in Summer Employment Internship Program, administered by Community and Economic Development. The city places at-risk young adults, ages 16 to 24, in city positions for work experiences to understand and learn those skills necessary to function in a job. The interns are paid by the city for the duration of the program.</p><p>Entering Arizona State University student Chris Joseph wants to be a city manager. He thought that his Phoenix Internship Program participation would find him sitting outside the city manager’s office running errands and getting coffee. </p><p>“I thought I would be the city manager’s little helper,” the 2017 Betty Fairfax High School graduate said. “Instead, had my own cubicle, my own computer, I was on the floor and doing real work.”</p><p>Joseph, the first-generation son of Haitian immigrants, will start his education in public policy and public service at ASU with the experience of dealing with contracts, culling data and actively helping pitch the Read On Phoenix program to school districts.</p><p>“I’d tell anybody to sign up, this is a good program. It really exceeded my expectations,” said Jade Porché, a Centennial High School graduate entering ASU as a biological science major. Porché was an intern in the Phoenix Public Transit department. </p><p>She came to the program to gain the experience of working in an office. Both Joseph and Porché were paid for 100 hours of work experience with Phoenix.</p><p>“It was an incredible experience for someone like me,” Joseph said. “I was reading contracts and learning to find key information, and entering the data into the city’s system. But the program I liked best was being part of Read On Phoenix and shadowing Tim Valencia to meetings with school district officials.”</p><p>The nine students in summer 2017 represented a broad cross-section of backgrounds and education. In addition to Joseph and Porché, the other seven were:</p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>Desmond Slater, completing senior year online, worked with Housing; </li><li>Michele Gagner, finishing her high school class online, was placed with Human Services; </li><li>D’anesha White, a Phoenix College freshman, graduated from Fairfax High School, 2017, and worked with Planning & Development; </li><li>Maddie McCoskey, Drexler University, freshman, engineering, Desert Vista High School, 2017, and Ann Vega. Tolleson Union High School, 2017, both worked for the Water Services Department; </li><li>Atalia Candia, Ombudsman High School, 2017, was placed in Community and Economic Development; </li><li>Indonesia Jordan, Alabama A&M, junior, psychology major. South Mountain High School, worked in the Law Department.</li></ul><p>“I didn’t have any expectations when I first entered the program,” said Slater. “I was placed providing support in the Housing Department.”</p><p>Learning what it meant to work and building a network of friends is what Gagner found as a result of her tasks in Human Services. </p><p>“I didn’t know what to expect,” said the high school senior, “My work with (with Human Services) helped me gain skills I wouldn’t otherwise have.”</p><p>Porche found herself learning to audit transit contract performance.</p><p>“I would ride buses and the train and assess whether or not the operating company was performing as required in the contracts,” she said. “I had to understand the requirements and be able to explain why I made my conclusions.”</p><p>Porche also had a stint at Central Station in the ticket sales.</p><p>“Having an actual job like this taught me how to be organized and to be responsible for getting things completed on time,” White said. While she said she learned business skills, she wasn’t sure if she’d want to be a city planner.</p><p>McCoskey and Vega had a different kind of experience in Water Services. Their internship experience had them shadowing a number of water service employees in the field. </p><p>“We were entering data into the (geographic information system) for the department,” said McCoskey, a future engineer. “It’s amazing what is under all of the streets in the city.”</p><p>Vega talked about the tour of the water purification and wastewater treatment facilities.</p><p>“We got to see how sewage is treated and converted into clean water,” she said. “I was amazed that nothing smelled, well, except for one stage, in the process.”</p><p>McCoskey added that she had no idea what went into preparing water for when the tap is turned on and what happens when it goes down the drain. </p><p>In addition to onsite work for various departments, the interns also received job readiness training from the Business and Workforce Division. In talking about the program, Vega said that one of the most meaningful training sessions was on how to make a resume.</p><p>Atalia wants to become a medical billing coder, and said her work in Community and Economic Development helped her understand the need to be accurate and work with large amounts of data.</p><p>“I wanted the professional experience. I learned about how to read and insert data from contracts into a city system,” she said. “(The internship) helps you learn how to be in an office to work.”</p><p>Learning the difference between civil and criminal law was part of the experience for Jordan. She said that she had never realized what civil law was about.</p><p>“Lots of paperwork,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d want to be a civil attorney. But I learned about the importance of procedures and detail.”</p><p>She said the highlight of the experience was a tour of the Phoenix crime laboratory to see how technicians generated evidence to help solve crimes and prosecute criminals.</p><p>Joseph said that he’d recommend this program to any student whether or not they thought they wanted to work in city government. He said that he learned a lot that will help him in college and any job that he might follow.</p> </div>9/12/2017 7:00:00 AMEric Jay TollEric Jay Toll602-617-3797