County of Marin - News Releases - Career Explorers

For Immediate Release
August 06, 2019

Interns Get Taste of County Work Experience

Innovative program partners young people with public service jobs

San Rafael, CA – At age 16, Hajra Yacoobali was one of the youngest participants in the County of Marin’s eight-week Career Explorer Youth Program, which gives young people career experience in local government. The Mill Valley resident worked this summer with the District Attorney’s Office.

A group photo of all the Career Explorer interns taken on the patio area outside the Civic Center cafe.The fourth class of Marin County Career Explorers.
“I was thinking that, hey, a 16-year-old can sit in the jury box in the courtroom and observe all this with guidance from the deputy district attorneys and district attorney, which was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was a visual into the real world.”

Hajra Yacoobali, Career Explorer graduateHajra Yacoobali
Yacoobali was one of 27 interns between ages 16 and 22 who participated in the fourth year of Career Explorers, a program coordinated and funded by the Marin County Probation Department. The interns were exposed to a wide variety of jobs within the County and in some cases found a new path as they prepare for wage-earning adulthood. They enjoyed a graduation ceremony August 5 in the Marin County Board of Supervisors chamber at the Civic Center in San Rafael.

Marin Organizing for Racial Justice, a program of the Youth Leadership Institute, connected Yacoobali to the Career Explorers program and the DA’s Office. Although it’s too early for her to pinpoint what she wants to study in college, Yacoobali said, “I want to work with people and make a difference. I know I want to do something with human behavior because it has a lot of impact on who you are and how you act. When you see people in court, you observe all the emotions and physical actions. It was just a great experience.”

Yacoobali was the recipient of the Dan Daniels Spirit of Service Award, given to the participant who demonstrates a passion for serving clients, co-workers and community partners while stating a goal of eventually becoming a full-fledged County employee. Daniels, a respected mentor for many County programs, was on hand to congratulate her, as were DA Lori Frugoli and several deputy district attorneys.

The following interns joined Yacoobali at the graduation ceremony:

  • Health and Human Services: Raymon Zuniga, Geornae Prior, Brittany Panela, Marcus Jackson, Kimberly Elizondo, Marijke Bluto, Alison    Paxtor
  • Probation: Ashleigh Lopez, Angelique Moore, Kelsey Mazariegos
  • District Attorney: Sophia Martin, Hajra Yacoobali
  • Public Defender: Nick Mims, Edwin Lopez
  • Marin County Free Library: Anastasia Turkan
  • Public Works: Mitch Moncada
  • Fire: Gabriella Diecks
  • Parks: David Kuklin
  • Human Resources: Alexis McCue
  • Board of Supervisors: Jacqueline Santos
  • Assessor: Ben Schiff
  • Community Development Agency: Pola Kotzian
  • County Administrator: Elizabeth Dorwood
  • County Counsel: Marcela Serafin

Also, Renelle Demasco and Devona Times participated with the nonprofit Performing Stars of Marin and Jacki Salas contributed with the Marin City Community Services District.

The program’s main goal is to provide work readiness skills to young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in career exploration. It is accomplished through a combination of intensive workshops, networking with professionals in various departments across the County government, and the internship itself. Some of the participants may have experienced barriers or challenges to employment. These can include contact with the juvenile justice system, family members with experience in either the juvenile or adult justice systems, or residence in neighborhoods often impacted by crime.

Interns generally work weekdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., excluding holidays, and start with an orientation period. All participants receive $100 per week during the two-week orientation. The interns are paid between $13.35 and $14.44 per hour. Probation used state grant funds to cover the costs.

The Career Explorers program also aligns with the goals of the County’s 5-Year Business Plan to create an inclusive organization with diversity at all levels of the organization, develop a world-class internship program, and increase employment opportunities for people with lived experiences.

To learn more about the program, contact Employment Development Counselor Luis Luciano at 415-473-6676

Contact:

Luis Luciano
Employment Development Counselor
Probations Department

120 N. Redwood Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6676
Email: Luis Luciano
Probation website