Youth Fellow From Southside Works Helps Connect Young People to Jobs

Posted October 24, 2023
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The image is an exterior shot of an Atlanta building.

South­side Works is an Atlanta col­lab­o­ra­tive that helps local res­i­dents access job train­ing and pur­sue new careers. Com­prised of six Atlanta-based non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions — Emmaus House, Per Scholas, STRIVE Atlanta, the Atlanta Cen­ter for Self Suf­fi­cien­cy, the Amaz­ing Sto­ries Foun­da­tion and Gangstas to Grow­ers — South­side Works recent­ly select­ed Applette Apple” Win­frey as its first-ever youth engage­ment fel­low. A grad­u­ate of SUNY Pots­dam and an Atlanta res­i­dent since 2018, Win­frey helps South­side Work’s part­ner orga­ni­za­tions bet­ter under­stand and con­nect with young peo­ple search­ing for employ­ment. The paid 10-month fel­low­ship was sup­port­ed, in part, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

As a young per­son, Apple brings a very impor­tant per­spec­tive to this work,” says Ade Ogun­toye, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site — a long-time investor in South­side Works’ ser­vice area. Not only is she incred­i­bly pas­sion­ate about com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, but she also has valu­able insight into what’s impor­tant to young peo­ple right now and how to reach them.”

Con­nect­ing South Atlanta to Train­ing and Jobs

Winfrey’s fel­low­ship duties include:

  • attend­ing com­mu­ni­ty meet­ings and speak­ing with residents;
  • help­ing to devel­op spe­cial work­force and employ­ment events; and
  • cre­at­ing local out­reach cam­paigns using social media, email and fliers post­ed around neighborhoods.

Win­frey recent­ly ensured young peo­ple in the Pitts­burgh com­mu­ni­ty attend­ed a recent job fair at Pitts­burgh Yards — a local hub for com­mu­ni­ty res­i­dents and entre­pre­neurs nes­tled with­in the Atlanta Belt­Line. The event allowed res­i­dents to learn about employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties and job skills train­ing avail­able through South­side Works.

To gen­er­ate inter­est in the job fair, Win­frey spear­head­ed mar­ket­ing efforts to reach youth-friend­ly spaces like com­mu­ni­ty and recre­ation cen­ters. Through one-on-one con­ver­sa­tions with res­i­dents, she found that some young peo­ple were unsure of how to find Pitts­burgh Yards or wor­ried that the job fair would have an expen­sive entry fee. She reas­sured them that not only was the event free, but it was also easy to access. A lot of folks were sur­prised to dis­cov­er that Pitts­burgh Yards was right in their back­yard,” says Winfrey.

We saw just under 50 peo­ple attend and three were offered posi­tions on the spot,” says Ogun­toye. We don’t typ­i­cal­ly see many job fairs in South Atlanta, and I was very impressed with how this event came togeth­er. That was all pos­si­ble because of Apple’s ded­i­cat­ed out­reach efforts.”

Giv­en the suc­cess of the event, South­side Works hopes to offer more sea­son­al job fairs at Pitts­burgh Yards.

Build­ing Rela­tion­ships With­in a Community

Win­frey cred­its her back­ground in polit­i­cal can­vass­ing and cam­paign orga­niz­ing with prepar­ing her for the role.

I was a lit­tle scared at first, but once I hit the streets and start­ed build­ing rela­tion­ships with­in the com­mu­ni­ty, that dis­ap­peared,” she says. For any kind of com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, the best way you can get to know a neigh­bor­hood is just by spend­ing time in it. I made sure to get to know the folks at the local church­es, schools and gro­cery stores — the places peo­ple vis­it every day.”

Although Winfrey’s fel­low­ship will con­clude in Decem­ber 2023, she’s already think­ing about the future. Over the past year, I’ve real­ized that I love con­nect­ing peo­ple to job or train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and get­ting involved with com­mu­ni­ty meet­ings,” says Win­frey. The fel­low­ship has real­ly inspired me to con­tin­ue with that work and take on more pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment chal­lenges myself. So not only do I get to help peo­ple grow, but I also keep grow­ing, too.”

Learn more about Pitts­burgh Yards

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