For Wa Rah, the RochesterWorks! Youth Work Experience Program came through the advice of a family friend. Her development through the six-week program turned a general interest in the hospitality industry into a vision for what a future career in the industry could hold.
When she first turned to RochesterWorks! for help, Wa Rah was looking for a summer job—what she found was an opportunity to expand her experience and learn more about herself and her career goals. Working with Geoff Bieber, a Youth Career Services Specialist at RochesterWorks!, Wa Rah was able to enroll in the RochesterWorks! Youth Work Experience Program at the Holiday Inn.
Throughout this experience Wa Rah recognized her strengths and excelled in her position. Her work ethic, attention to detail, and willingness to get the job done opened up further opportunities with the Holiday Inn. At the end of the six-week program Wa Rah was hired on as a part-time employee for the next school year.
Wa Rah’s experiences taught her many lessons. It is her desire to share those experiences with you so that you can learn to take every opportunity as a growing experience. You never know how an experience may help to clarify your goals for the future.
Keep Reading for Wa Rah’s Full Interview!
Q: What were you doing before the RochesterWorks! Youth Work Experience Program?
A: Before this program, I didn’t have a lot of work experience. I had done some babysitting and part-time work here and there during high school, but nothing related to my career. After I graduated from high school I started the Hospitality Management program at Monroe Community College (MCC).
Q: How did you hear about the youth program?
A: I heard about the program from Geoff Bieber, my youth counselor at RochesterWorks!, but I was introduced to RochesterWorks! by a family friend. When he told me about it I went to the website and decided to come in for a visit. I’m so glad that I did!
Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you in this process?
A: When I met with Geoff he helped me to write my résumé and find job leads. I knew how to look for jobs online, but he was able to help me find jobs that applied to my experience level.
Q: What interested you about this program?
A: When I started to look for a summer job I did my research and applied for some jobs, but I found a lot of positions requiring two years of experience that I didn’t have. The program at Rochesterworks! allowed me to get experience in my field. That was even better than a summer job!
Q: What have you been working on during this program?
A: Throughout the six weeks, I rotated departments at the Holiday Inn. I worked at the front desk, in the food and beverage department, and also in the banquet department as a server—which was my favorite! When they saw that I did well in the banquet department they decided to keep me there for the rest of the program.
Q: What did you gain from this experience?
A: The biggest thing that I gained from this program was experience. I knew that I was interested in Hospitality Management from my program at MCC, but I did not know that I had the skills that I needed to do that for a career. Working at the Holiday Inn gave me the confidence to try new things and be willing to talk to and learn from other people.
Q: What do you think led to your success in this program?
A: I think I was successful because I was professional and took my job seriously. Even when I worked in departments that weren’t exactly what I want to do in my career, I learned from everything and was respectful and reliable.
Q: Looking back on this experience, is there anything that you would have done differently?
A: The only thing that I would have done differently would have been to come to RochesterWorks! sooner. I would look into their training programs and have them help me make my résumé more professional.
Q: What kind of advice do you have for others who may be interested in applying to this program?
A: My advice to anyone trying to find experience during the summer is to try it! Even if you don’t know what you’re interested in, try something new because you will learn something either way. Talk to people that you work with and find out how they got where they are so that you can learn from their experiences.
I’d also encourage you to start your résumé early! Be organized, keep information about past work experience, and then let RochesterWorks! help you make it professional.
Q: What is coming up next for you? What are your long-term goals?
A: In a few weeks I will be going back to school at MCC. After finishing that program I plan to study to be a chef. For now, I know what my skills are and what areas I need to work on so I am excited to keep learning more!
For more information on Summer Youth Programs offered through RochesterWorks! visit our website at rochesterworks.org/youth_services!