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Joy’s Story: How Youth Career Connections Helped a Student Find Her Calling

Joy’s Story: How Youth Career Connections Helped A Student Find Her Calling

Back in 2017, when Joy Chew was a junior at Pacific High School in Garden Grove, she decided to participate in Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections (YCC) program—a work-based learning initiative that infuses classroom education with real-world experiences. Little did she know, that decision would completely change her career trajectory.

“I applied as a graphic design student, but was instead assigned to work with Ware Malcomb—an architecture firm. It was definitely not what I had signed up for, but I participated anyway,” said Joy.

Joy was eager to develop a professional profile and start networking. After one month of interning at Ware Malcomb, Joy discovered that she really loved working there. “I learned so much—company cultures, what it’s like working in a 9-5 office setting, and architecture skills.” Joy also learned how to write a resume, cover letter, and professional emails.

When Joy returned for her senior year, she felt like she had gained an edge and was excited to share what she’d learned with fellow students. In the fall of 2019, Joy started college at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture!

This summer, Joy is returning to Ware Malcomb for a second internship. “It’s important to get to know the people you work with—it’s important to build relationships. That’s what got me where I am today.”

Joy is so happy that our YCC program kick-started her journey and led her to architecture. Her advice to anyone who doesn’t know about the program or is considering applying: “Just do it. Even if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, there’s still so much valuable experience to be gained from it. You never know how much of that will come back to benefit you down the line!”

Orange County United Way would like to congratulate Joy on her new internship and her academic excellence! Her journey is inspiring and we are honored to have played a part in it! Check out a video she made about her internship experience:

The Youth Career Connections program is offered as part of Orange County United Way’s United for Student Success initiative, which aims to ensure Orange County students receive the support they need to stay on track in their education, graduate high school on time, and are college- and career-ready.

Interested in Youth Career Connections?

Learn more about YCC

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