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Juan Vela

Juan Vela transitioned his summer internship into a full time job, thanks to a positive attitude, willingness, and work ethic. 
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Juan Vela graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in May 2015. While he was still in school, he participated in the school’s Transition Job Fair & Business Expo where he received information about the City of Houston Summer Jobs Program at the SER-Jobs for Progress information booth.

He applied for the summer jobs program, interviewed, and was offered the opportunity to intern as a Park Manager Aide for the Parks and Recreation Department under the supervision of Jed Alpaca.

Juan’s advice to other young people seeking full-time employment includes exhibiting an open attitude and accepting all opportunities offered within the workplace.  

“When an opportunity to learn more at work becomes available, you should take it because it helps open up other possibilities,” Juan said. 

This openness and flexibility resulted in Mr. Alpaca offering Juan many opportunities to learn about fields outside of his assigned internship as a Park Manager Aide. This exposure to other areas within the Parks and Recreation department gave Juan the chance to interact with other employees who knew about full time positions available within the City of Houston.

“[Juan] was very easy to work with and caught on very well.  He was very interested in what he did and wanted to do his best,” said Alpaca.

Because of his performance and attitude during his internship, at the end of the summer, Mr. Alpaca recommended Juan apply for a permanent position. Taking his supervisor’s advice, Juan applied for a carpenter position with the City of Houston and was hired.

After only a couple of months in his new job, Juan’s hours increased from 32 hours per week to a full 40 hours per week and his pay has also increased from $7.25 an hour to $10.00 an hour. 

Juan saved a portion of his earnings to pay for tuition at Houston Community College (HCC), where he hopes to earn his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). After obtaining his CDL, Juan would like to purchase a heavy cargo truck and dreams of eventually owning a trucking company.   

Juan is a great example of how a summer job or internship can be a springboard into more opportunities and be a stepping stone toward long-term career goals.

Opportunities just like Juan’s are available once again this year for 16-21 year old City of Houston residents through the 2017 City of Houston Summer Jobs Program, but applications are only available until Monday, March 20th! For more information, visit http://www.serhouston.org/CityOfHouston