San Rafael, CA – Recruitment has just opened for the Marin County Career Explorer Program, a popular vocational skills internship opportunity for those between the ages of 15 and 22. Young people who are curious about careers in public service get a chance to work directly with County of Marin departments and earn a few bucks while gaining the exclusive experience.
Career Explorers receive training and hear about real-world experiences from County personnel such as Fire Department Battalion Chief Bret McTigue.
The internships, which were purely online the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will return to in-person experiences this year unless public health officials recommend a return to the virtual format as a precaution. The program runs from June 13 through August 5. Applications are available online in English and Spanish and may be turned in through May 31.
A key objective of the Career Explorers program is to provide opportunities to local youth who are exposed to circumstances that traditionally present barriers to employment. Those may include personal experiences with the juvenile justice system, family members with experience in either the juvenile or adult justice systems, or residents of neighborhoods impacted by crime or other socioeconomic issues.
Career Explorers, now in its seventh year, was borne from a long-range business plan that included focus areas of “diversity and inclusion” and “growth and development.” The program also includes a comprehensive soft skills training course and a guest speaker series that features County employees, community partners, and leaders from the business community sharing stories designed to motivate future members of the workforce.
Chief Probation Officer Marlon Washington, now in his second year with the County, saw first-hand how important the internships can be last summer as the program organizers presented purely online experiences during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud to continue the Probation Department’s support of this innovative program with the goal of developing and recruiting youths from our community into county employment,” Washington said.
Prior to the pandemic, youth attended the “Keys to Employment” workshop series, an in-person, two-week orientation, and training sessions that set them up for success during their internships. Interns receive training on topics such as resume writing, interview preparation, public speaking, and conflict resolution.
Luis Luciano, Senior Program Coordinator with the Probation Department, said there are elements of the in-person experience that cannot be replicated online, such as with the public speaking workshops.
“It was a real challenge to incorporate some of those trainings to the online format, but we made the best of it and saw that it was still rewarding for the interns,” Luciano said. “We relied on the experiences of our guest speakers to teach valuable lessons to our youth. The trainings give young people the skills and confidence they need to become our next leaders.”
Callum Brown of San Rafael was a participant in the summer 2021, spending time learning about the Marin County Public Defender’s Office. Brown was the recipient of the 2021 Dan Daniels Spirit of Service Award, which goes to an intern who demonstrates a passion for serving clients, coworkers, and community partners.
“Career Explorers is a wonderful opportunity for anyone,” Brown said. “It centers itself around working with the County of Marin, however, the experience and connections I walked away with were what really resonated with me. I really enjoyed my time at the Public Defender’s Office; it was a great chance to apply what I learned from Luis in a real working situation. I encourage anybody to take the step to look at what you might want to do in the future.”
The Career Explorer Program creates a diverse, skilled, and local candidate pool for employment opportunities in a manner that promotes growth and development. The Probation Department collaborates with the County’s Department of Human Resources and other County departments to offer the program. Probation uses funds from a state grant to cover the costs of stipends, work uniforms, food, transportation, and supervision for the interns. Departments that employ the interns also contribute to the cost of the program.
Email Luciano or call (415) 473-6676 to learn more about the program or to obtain a printed application.