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Youth RISE intern snags permanent post with Amec Foster Wheeler after 5-week internshipYouth RISE intern snags permanent post with Amec Foster Wheeler after 5-week internship<div class="ExternalClass9FB8669DF35546C9B32B47EAE2A5C5E4"><p>Celestina Mesa was helping Phoenix area high school seniors make decisions about school and summer jobs when she gave the internship flyer being passed out a closer look. </p><p>The 2015 University of Arizona Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate was volunteering in a program while waiting a final decision on which graduate program she would follow. The flyer touted an opportunity for youth to intern in a professional business environment.</p><p>Mesa, the first in her Phoenix family to graduate from college, decided to see what it was like to be in a business environment.</p><p>“This was a first for us and we were happy to participate,” said Brett Howey, PE, Vice President, Southwest Regional Manager for Amec Foster Wheeler PLC (NYSE: AMFW) Environment & Infrastructure business. “And we’re excited for the prospect to participate again next year.”</p><p>Howey saw this as an opportunity for youth, women and minorities to be exposed to engineering as a career. A global company, AFW has multiple business lines in Phoenix, and Executive Assistant JoAnne Nichols was responsible for exposing Mesa to the variety of roles at the engineering consultancy.</p><p>Mesa said she had never worked in an office, and thought that even though engineering was not her career choice, she should have some professional experience. AWF was impressed enough by her summer performance and professionalism that it offered her a regular position with flexible hours for the upcoming school year.</p><p>“I came in without expectations,” said Mesa. “I was up for a challenge, and that’s what I found. I was in a role to be a working member of the team in a professional, engineering firm.”</p><p>The 24-year-old, who is deciding between graduate schools, enrolled herself in the 200-hours-per-year Phoenix Youth “Reach and Invest in Summer Employment” (RISE) internship program administered by the Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department. Throughout the program, Mesa was selected to work in the administrative division of AFW, following a screening process and an interview.</p><p>“I felt like I was making a real contribution to the company,” Mesa said. “I was working with project managers on proposals, entering invoices, and learning what goes into operating a business.”</p><p>Taking on Mesa involved a commitment from AFW because the company had to cover her payroll costs and allocate staff to help train and supervise the intern. Howey said he’d recommend other companies get involved with the program.</p><p>While Mesa likes working at AFW and enjoys being a part of the team, it hasn’t diverted her interest from her future career in health care. It has increased her interest in finding other young men and women to enter the RISE program.</p><p>“I’d recommend this program to young person looking to learn about what a job means,” she said.</p><p>RISE works with businesses to develop functional internship program opportunities for young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. The program connects businesses with intern candidates. Businesses are responsible for paying wages during the 200-hour internship commitment.</p><p>“It’s a mutual investment between a company and the city to build a future workforce,” said Mary Alejandro, community and business liaison for Phoenix Community and Economic Development.</p><p>The program helps youth with little or no professional experience learn what it means to work in a professional setting. Community and Economic Development works with interested companies to find youth with interests and skill sets fitting the company’s program needs. </p><p>“Giving these Phoenix youth a taste of what it means to be part of a company can help their future and train them with the soft skills to work with adults,” said Alejandro. “With the experience, we’ve seen youth find a future to pursue.”</p><p>Howey said AFW had Mesa on a 40-hour a week schedule for five weeks. They classified her position as a temporary posting, which meant the company didn’t have to pay health care or benefits, but it did have to cover the employer’s share of taxes. Even with those costs, AFW executive assistant, Joanne Nichols, Mesa’s supervisor, said it was a positive for the company.</p><p>“We were able to give Celestina exposure to different parts of the business and then have her carry her weight with tasks,” Nichols said. “Celestina was a pleasure to work with, and she learned really quickly.”</p><p>AFW believes that preparing a future workforce is a part of a sustainable business model. The company uses engineering interns from Arizona State University and other schools, but this was its first foray for internships on the administration side.</p><p>“Celestina was an excellent team member. It’s why we asked her to stay on after the internship was completed,” Howey said. “We wanted to expose her to how an engineering consulting firm works. To be able to give real exposure to the business to a young person helps encourage others to consider this as a career.”</p> </div>9/8/2017 7:00:00 AMEric Jay TollEric Jay Toll602-617-3797