Youth Success Stories

Autumn’s education had been disrupted by her parents break up, which often led the family to uproot and move from one residence to another.

In her senior year in high school, she moved to Texas for seven months, where she learned she did not have enough credits to graduate.

On her return to California, a school counselor informed her of the support she could receive from the Workforce Development Board.

She enrolled at an alternative education center to study towards graduation, and also attended classes to learn essential life skills.

“The skills I learned taught me the importance of my attitude in school and at work, and how that affects my ability to be successful in life. The schedule was flexible, which made it easy for me to follow the program,” said Autumn.

Autumn was also provided with work attire for interviews and transportation assistance. She graduated from high school in December 2014, and by this time, had already caught the bug for further education.
She enrolled at Chaffey College, where she earned the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certification and an OSHA10 card in order to conduct industrial maintenance.
Autumn then returned to the college in September to start a two-year associate’s degree in Airframe and Powerplant Technology. Autumn also gained an internship at DuBois Aviation where she shadowed a mechanic to learn how to repair airplanes.

She commented, “I love the program and the staff. They pushed me to do my best, stay committed to my goals, and helped me to follow my dreams of being an aircraft mechanic. The staff members of the program are wonderful people who really care about you; they have a special place in my heart.”

Autumn Downs

Mariah dropped out of high school and was unemployed with no work experience, which left her struggling to support herself and her four-year-old son.

At 21, she thought she was too old to try to complete her high school diploma, and despite applying for a plethora of jobs, she was unable to find employment.

“My living situation was unstable and emotionally unhealthy for me and my son; I wanted more out of life for the both of us,” she stated.

“Every company that I applied to said that I needed work experience. I did not know how I was going to get the experience I needed to stand on my own two feet,” she continued.

Mariah was referred to CalWORKs Youth Employment Program (CYEP), which specializes in placing young people into paid work experience with local employers.

She began work readiness training, offered by the Workforce Development Board, and was placed in a job as an administrative assistant at Athens Services. When the six-month work experience came to an end, Mariah was hired on a full time basis.

“I am so grateful that these people believed in me, stuck by me, and changed my life in a positive way forever,” said Mariah. “I can now provide a better life for me and my son. I would like to thank the WDB and Athens Services for all of their help and for believing in me.”

Mariah Cruz

When 18-year-old Melody moved to California, she was unemployed, homeless, surviving on food stamps and living at a motel.

She tried desperately to find a job, but without any work experience employers were reluctant to hire her. A friend told her to seek help from the Workforce Development Board.

She attended classes to learn interview skills and job search techniques. She also earned a certificate in customer service skills, and the WDB placed her in a work experience position. The job has since become permanent.

Said Melody, “This program has helped me to gain the knowledge and skills I needed to survive. Before the program, I had no idea how to even start looking for a job. I also have the knowledge to know what to wear and how to speak in a job interview. It has been a great experience, and I am very glad there was a program like this to help me when I needed it.”

Melody Bartholic