SFMade and Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) have been working together to make the YouthMade program more student-centric. This program incorporates Inside MFG, internships, and job placements. The program has evolved to empower students to express their interests and shape their internship experiences with their host companies.

Program participants are 15-18 year old students from SFUSD schools who have been equipped with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) by JVS. JVS is responsible for supporting the students to graduate on time and overcome barriers to employment, and SFMade recruits employers and matches students with them. In the latest edition, 19 interns worked at 13 different host sites.

Jess Nguyen, SFMade’s Workforce & Youth Program Coordinator, has worked diligently to align the employers, JVS, and students. Giving students an eye opening Inside MFG experience before they start an internship helps them to develop their interest in potential career pathways, better understand what manufacturing really is, and see the realities of manufacturing in San Francisco.

Kelly Ortega of Artillery AG (pictured) explains:

“At Artillery AG, we value nature and sustainability – we make decisions for our business based on those core values. Our clay recycling program allows for our studio to reuse clay and reduce any waste generated. It has been a pleasure to see our summer intern Jalyn learn how to work with clay and be active in our clay recycle program and backyard community garden. Since her graduation from the summer internship program, Jalyn now is in college, interested in taking a college ceramics class, and volunteering in her spare time to the studio. Even just to volunteer over the weekend or during a college break, she texts and asks to be involved! She is a joy to have and we have this internship program to thank. “

Employers, especially small businesses, are able to use the 100 hour internship experience to get a better understanding of what skills and responsibilities are required for their open positions before making a hire. At the same time, they get to share their craft with the next generation. Working with young people through the YouthMade program gives employers another lens to look at their business and understand how they can do things differently.

George Colon, SFMade’s Director of Workforce and Youth Programs, is looking forward to the future of the student-centric model:

“We’ve presented to Downtown High School’s MADE (Making, Advertising, and Designing as Empowerment) program and we are getting ready to take those students on a tour of The Crucible in Oakland, as well as making connections to employers for future internships and job placements.”