Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board
Patrick Vinh is a senior at Central High School. He initially participated in a WorkReady Philadelphia internship through the community-based organization Boat People SOS, but wanted additional work experience to explore his career opportunities.
This summer, Way to Work funding greatly expanded the number of opportunities available for youth through the WorkReady Philadelphia system of programs, and he was able to gain another internship at UCI Architects in Center City. When he learned where he would be working, he was excited at the prospect of expanding his graphic design skills to the world of architectural design.
When he began his internship, he admits, “at first, it was a little scary because I was the youngest one there. Everyone there has an architectural degree and they’re older, but they were really friendly. It was like a family.” Patrick appreciated the warm atmosphere of the office and the hands-on approach of his supervisor, Fon A. Wang, a Principal at the firm. Each day she would check-in with him about his projects to give him guidance and determine what support he needed. Patrick was also pleased to learn that her concern for him went beyond his job duties. “She was interested in not just work, but in me as a person. I think that’s really important. A supervisor needs to connect with the people and she did that.”
Outcomes & Benefits
At his internship, Patrick learned how to use AutoCAD, a computer program used to create 2D and 3D designs in the architecture field. After becoming familiar with the program, he used it to design the renovations for a house. “You have to be accurate. The drawings have to be correct because contractors will use them to build.” The house renovation project gave Patrick a great sense of accomplishment; he completed it on his own from start to finish.
Patrick was also able to work on an assignment that merged his passion for serving the community with his internship duties. Along with a co-worker, he designed an addition for a homeless shelter in Camden, NJ. “It was big and important. What I did will help many, many people.” This experience also allowed him to collaborate with a colleague, something he knows is a necessary skill in the workforce.
Patrick feels that his WorkReady experience has benefitted him both personally and professionally. It enhanced his social and verbal skills, introduced him to an office environment, and showed him the importance of asking for help when he needs it. “Participating in WorkReady puts you ahead of the game.”