RochesterWorks! Partners with Youth to Overcome Employment Challenges

Meet Matt, a RochesterWorks! youth customer who came to us in 2012 through the Digital Skills for Youth program.  Today as a MCC student about to graduate with an Associates in Computer Information Systems he has come a long way!

Keep reading to learn from Matt and his mother about their experience working with our Youth Team!


MATT’S STORY

What challenge or situation brought you to RochesterWorks!?
I have high-functioning autism and bipolar disorder. Both of these disabilities made school a challenge for me. I needed RochesterWorks! to believe in me and help me to see that I could have a professional career in computers.

How did RochesterWorks! help you to overcome that challenge?
Obtaining first the Digital Skills for Youth internship and later the training grant bolstered my confidence and my self-worth. It helped me to know that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to.  I had been in special ed since seventh grade, and that left me uncertain that I could be successful in college.

Tell me about your experience with the Digital Skills for Youth and being a recipient of a youth training grant.
During summer 2012 I did a computer internship at RochesterWorks!. I went on field calls with the IT Team. They showed me how computers are used in a real business, how networks operate, and what is done to protect networks from malware. The internship made me sure that computers are the right career for me, and the training grant is paying for about half the cost of my education.

What do you think led to your success during these programs?
I have always loved computers and was so excited to be shadowing the RochesterWorks! IT Team. I didn’t want to miss a moment of work! I’d always used computers for fun; I wanted to learn how they were used in the world of work, and the internship showed me that. When I got the training grant, I was thrilled that RochesterWorks! thought so highly of me and my potential. It made me determined to do whatever it took to complete my degree.

Since your completion of the Digital Skills for Youth and Youth Work Experience Programs, what school have you been attending?
I have been going to Monroe Community College working on an AAS degree in Computer Information Systems; I will graduate in December 2015.

How has RochesterWorks! prepared you for the real world of work?
RochesterWorks! taught me about being on time, going to work every day, dressing appropriately, interacting with people, and handling people’s computer issues in such a way as to make them feel calm and confident that the issue would be resolved ASAP. 

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

How has RochesterWorks! youth services helped Matt achieve his academic and career goal?

When Matt was about 12, a psychologist who tested him told me that when he grew up, he would never be able to hold down a job and would be on Social Security disability. My husband and I rejected that viewpoint and encouraged Matt to have the same hopes and dreams as any other youth. We were delighted when RochesterWorks! supported our stance that Matt could hold down a professional job by offering him the Digital Skills for Youth internship. Completing that internship changed his life. Now he was no longer dreaming of a career with computers, he was confident that that was his destiny and knew that he had what it took to achieve it. It offered an incredible morale booster from someone other than his parents and teachers.

What kind of growth have you seen in Matt since during and at the completion of RochesterWorks! youth services?
Matt has come such a long ways! Once he realized that he was destined to work with computers, he was ready to face the challenges of college. He started out with poor math skills and was placed in a transitional studies math course. As he matured, he learned time management as he juggled a part-time job shelving materials at a library while simultaneously going to college. Today, he feels confident about his math skills and is currently earning an A in statistics! His overall GPA is strong and he is considering transferring to another college to earn a bachelor’s degree! Talk about a success story!

As a parent, please share with us how RochesterWorks! worked with you as a team to support your child in achieving his ultimate potential.
Until Matt turned 18, our health insurance wouldn’t pay for his very expensive medication so when RochesterWorks! offered him a $5,000 training grant to attend MCC to study Computer Information Systems, it was a joy and a relief. It was also a huge boost to Matt’s ego that RochesterWorks! believed in him so much as the result of his internship. Who wouldn’t be over the moon by such a ringing endorsement? 

In my opinion, RochesterWorks! has acted as “Team Matthew” every step of the way.

Click Here for more information about RochesterWorks! and our Youth programs.

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