Maya Madsen with two JA Fellows students

Ketura working alongside a classmate and Maya Madsen

After completing their semester-long internships, five JA Fellows from Lincoln High School were offered permanent positions with their internship host sites. Two of the five students, Ketura and Miguel, accepted their offers and have been working as part-time employees over the last few months.

Ketura graduated a semester early from Lincoln High and has been working at Maya’s Cookies in the customer service, business operations, and online commerce departments.

Miguel works at Symons Fire Protection where he supports business operations and product packaging. Interested in hands-on work and a collaborative work environment, Miguel was drawn to Symons Fire Protection and their role in supplying critical fire prevention products and services to the community.

“From interning at Symons Fire Protection I’ve learned to communicate, adapt to a new work environment, and learned how a work environment actually is. I’ve learned communication by asking questions when needing help and communicating on my availability to go to my internship,” said Miguel.

Miguel working at Symons Fire Protection facility

In addition to professional growth, Ketura found her work experiences helped her to grow personally. She shared that she feels more confident when talking to new people and has become a better conversationalist.

“I was introverted and very shy. Now that I’m a cashier my job is talking to people and I’ve learned to be more open,” said Ketura.

Ketura was initially interested in working at Maya’s Cookies after CEO & Founder Maya Madsen visited her classroom as a guest speaker. Ketura was inspired by Maya’s story and her success in founding her business which has grown to become the top vegan cookie business in the nation.

“She taught me not to give up and that no matter what you can still make something of yourself. She’s really cool,” said Ketura.

Both students accredit their participation in the JA Fellows programs as a key component in preparing them for the workforce. Prior to their internships, JA Fellows students participated in semester-long curriculum on career exploration and professional development through job shadows, career panels, and mentorship. Students learned how to dress and speak professionally and how to begin building their professional networks.

“The JA Fellowship program has helped me prepare for my internship by teaching me and my classmates the process of becoming an employee,” said Miguel. “It prepared us in creating a resume, how to properly fill out tax forms, and how to properly behave and talk in a work environment.”

Miguel plans to continue working at Symons Fire Protection while he enrolls at San Diego City Community College. Ketura is planning on attending university and pursuing a career in architecture. Their stories are a testament to the impact of the JA Fellows program in providing valuable social capital and connecting young people to business and career opportunities. Programs that intentionally connect education and industry empower youth to succeed in the modern economy and jumpstart their career journeys.