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Cambridge Works Celebrates 27th Graduating Class – DHSP

Cambridge Works Grads

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Cambridge Works, the City’s transitional jobs program, celebrated its 27th graduating class during a special ceremony on June 17, held at Cambridge City Hall and livestreamed through Zoom.

The program supports Cambridge residents, ages 18-35, who have not been able to get or keep jobs for a variety of reasons. Coordinated through the Department of Human Service Programs’ (DHSP) Office of Workforce Development, Cambridge Works prepares participants to enter the workforce through a 3-month, paid temporary job placement, one-on-one case management, professional development classes, and job development.

“By graduating today, you join the ranks of 27 other Cambridge Works cohorts. However, you’re one of only a few cohorts to not only complete your internships successfully, but do so during a global pandemic,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui in her opening remarks. “I know this unique experience has made you even more resilient and prepared you to meet any challenges that come your way … Cambridge is stronger because of your experiences and your stories.”

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Seven Cambridge Works participants graduated from the Spring 2022 program cycle. To gain work experience, participants were placed in a variety of paid internships at organizations throughout the city. The program’s employer partners, which provide participants with a paid internship, mentorship, job skills development, and other growth opportunities, included the Cambridge Housing Authority, DHSP’s Preschool division, New England Development / CambridgeSide, Salvation Army, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, and the YWCA.

During the ceremony, graduates shared how their experience in Cambridge Works has transformed their lives personally and professionally. One graduate shared how, after a criminal record had resulted in working minimum-wage jobs for years to support his three children and “survive – not live,” Cambridge Works gave him the opportunity to develop professional skills and increase his career options through maintenance internships at CambridgeSide and Salvation Army.

Another graduate expressed her gratitude for Cambridge Works staff in helping her overcome a CORI setback and secure a temporary job placement that she “could grow and learn from” at Spaulding Hospital. The experience reconnected her to “a sense of pride and accomplishment,” and led to a full-time, permanent position at Spaulding Hospital. “This has been an amazing journey,” she shared. “I’m so ready for this new chapter to begin.”

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A third graduate emphasized the value of the program’s structure. “Before finding Cambridge Works, I had no schedule. Covid-19 made me too comfortable not having a job,” he explained. “But there’s more to Cambridge Works than just finding a job. Through professional development classes, I made a fantastic resume and got great career advice – 2 things that would set me up for life. Taking the leap to apply [to Cambridge Works] has changed my life for the better.”

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Another graduate used her Cambridge Works experience to transition back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent for the first year of her son’s life. “I am leaving this program with so much more confidence than I started, and I have a great support system even after this program,” she said.

All graduates spoke to the lifelong connections they have made through the program with their peers, Cambridge Works staff, and mentors at their work sites. Of the seven graduates, three will start full-time jobs this week , one will start a temporary job at the end of the month, and others are continuing to interview and explore job opportunities with support from Cambridge Works staff.

The next cycle of Cambridge Works will be offered from September – December 2022. Application details will be announced in August.
For more information, visit www.cambridgema.gov/CambridgeWorks.

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