Ready to Meet the World

Ready to Meet the World On a recent afternoon in Queens, a roomful of high school students were practicing their handshakes. Some gazed shyly at the floor. Others stepped forward eagerly.

It was the weekly meeting of JobNet Career Club, a new job counseling program at The Child Center, and employment specialist Ira Davison was going over basic interview skills. “Eye contact!” he encouraged.

Career Club helps youth age 16 to 21 find a foothold in the working world. The program is specifically designed for young people who have struggled with social and emotional issues including family conflict, anxiety, and substance abuse. The program offers resume advice and workplace skills like good communication, and matches participants with internships at local businesses, which often lead to permanent positions.

“We want to give these kids chances and choices to better themselves,” says Davison, whose jokes and energetic presence draw out even the shyest participants. Though new, the program has been successful: Nearly 70% of participants found internships.

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