In a city as rich in opportunity like Houston, you’ll find young adults struggling yet eager to find a path forward in life. Inside the Work & Learn Center in the East End, two former students say you’ll find life-changing work being performed in every class. Take a look.
Kinder Institute for Urban Research reports there are more than 100,000 youth, ranging in ages from 16 to 24 years old, who neither work nor attend school. They’re defined as opportunity youth and represent an overlooked segment of society. Thanks to support from organizations like Comcast Texas, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans known as AAMA, set up the Work & Learn Center to provide more pathways for young adults like Carlos Segura.
The program offers students paid training to learn computer skills, graphic design and web development. It provides students skills to obtain employment.
“I have a background in drawing and art. It’s something I really enjoy and am passionate about,” Segura said. “So learning about graphic design and what’s offered here at the Work & Learn Center was a creative outlet. I think more people need to know about this. It’s such a great opportunity. I feel like a lot of young people don’t know about it. It’s something they need to know about because it helps them figure out what they are going to do with their lives.”
Other former students like Kenneth Gutierrez say the program helped give them perspective and made them think about their future.
“The Work & Learn Center was a life-changing experience for me. They taught me so much,” Gutierrez said. “They taught me I can express myself creatively and make money for it. It was a chance to experience what working with clients was. I’m more creative now.”
D’Jomme Adia is the center’s manager. She said she’s been overwhelmed with joy watching how the young adults find purpose in the program.
“It’s a safe place for them to grow,” Adia said. “Any student from any background is more than welcome. We provide them with leadership skills so by the time they leave our program, they’re able to present and produce awesome work. Comcast has such reach and it helps our program get the exposure that it needs. Thank you Comcast for supporting our program and our students.”