Ramiro Quezada wants only the best for his family. With an infant daughter now part of his clan, Ramiro (photo, right) was compelled to take his passion for computers from avocation to vocation, with the goal of being part of the Bay Area’s booming tech sector. That’s why he walked through the welcoming doors of Plaza Adelante, the Mission neighborhood center, a few weeks back.
Ramiro was just one of a well-dressed group of 19 young adults who filled the halls of MEDA’s Plaza Adelante last Friday, anticipating their trip to LinkedIn’s San Francisco office. The group comprised 17- to 24-year-olds from underserved communities, all part of the nonprofit’s innovative Mission Techies program. Those from past cohorts were reunited; they were then introduced to the latest cohort.
The twelve-week Mission Techies program–part of MEDA’s free Workforce Development–teaches IT essentials of hardware, software, networking and coding. As clients learn these skills, they also refurbish low-income Mission residents’ computers, at no cost. It’s a way of paying it forward.
“I am so appreciative of LinkedIn working with our Mission Techies today. The EngageIn program is a model for the business community,” explained MEDA’s Volunteer Coordinator Leah Cerri, who made this event possible in conjunction with the renowned tech company’s Staff Technical Program Manager Amy Tang, both understanding the need in the community.
“As part of our EngageIn program, LinkedIn partners with organizations making a positive impact in youth employment around the world,” said Meg Garlinghouse, Head of LinkedIn for Good. “Our relationship with MEDA gives LinkedIn employee volunteers in San Francisco the opportunity to work with local youth who can benefit from the mentorship of and career guidance from our employees. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with MEDA and other social impact partners through EngageIn.”
The exciting “Career Exposure Day” started with the Techies getting a professional headshot, a must for any professional’s LinkedIn profile page. The correct poses were struck, a flash occurred and the images were ready to be put online.
Mission Techie Ramiro then did an introduction of himself and his fellow aspiring IT employees. He spoke of his dream to be part of this world, his heartfelt words showcasing the desire for a better life.
After a jobseeker presentation by LinkedIn staff, the group broke into one-on-one coaching sessions for personalized assistance with the creation of profiles. The Techies offered their rapt attention, recognizing this was a unique opportunity to receive counsel from LinkedIn staff. This included interview tips, followed by mock interviews to put those tips into practice.
An inside look into the world of LinkedIn occurred when the Mission Techies were shown the company’s internal IT tracking system. MEDA’s program curriculum stresses the importance of the tracking of work orders when conducting IT support, so this showcased how this works in the day-to-day world.
At the “Career Mixer” that followed, relationships were built and connections were made. MEDA is pleased to have LinkedIn playing a role in the Mission Techies program. There are plans for mentorships down the road, which would be invaluable for the young adults.
MEDA’s Mission Techies Program Coordinator Leo Sosa summed up the day by stating, “LinkedIn working with MEDA’s Young Adult Program clients was a privilege. LinkedIn staff helping these young adults make online profiles, explaining career paths to them and conducting mock interviews was much appreciated. We look forward to coming back soon.”