The Fresno EOC Graduate Summer Internship Program operated by the Employment and Training Services Department just concluded its 4th summer of providing internships and career mentoring to recent high school graduates. The program served 26 participants this summer with funding received through Fresno EOC and Wells Fargo.
Isaiah Fischer is one of the 26 participants served. For Isaiah, SOUL was the fourth high school that he attended in three years. When he enrolled as a junior he was a year and a half behind in credit and brought with him a history of failed classes, attendance issues, and school suspensions. It was apparent from his test scores that he was capable of high academic achievement, but he lacked the focus and motivation to apply himself. Coming from a single parent household, Isaiah’s mother continued to search for resources that would help Isaiah get the support and services he needed to recognize and utilize his full potential.
After enrolling at SOUL, Isaiah got involved in school programs, sports and began to apply himself academically. In the 3 years he was a SOUL student, he played on the basketball team, completed the Youth Mentoring Program, did community service with the Heart and SOUL club, participated in the Employment and earned a 3.0 GPA. Upon graduation he was a top choice to nominate for the Fresno EOC Graduate Summer Internship Program.
During the time Isaiah was enrolled at SOUL he filled out several job applications hoping to get part-time work to help his mother and sister with household expenses. He became very discouraged when no one called for interviews and his confidence and hope began to waiver. He talked about college, but had no direction and would often become frustrated with feelings of misdirection and a lack of goals. He felt he would only be capable of working in an outdoor, hands-on career and had mentioned leaving school to do “field work.” He could not envision a professional career.
Because of the partnership and leveraging of resources between SOUL and the Employment and Training Services Department, today, Isaiah beams with confidence. He is enrolled at Fresno City College and has started attending classes. He now has work experience to add to his resume and feels that he can explore a number of career options rather than limiting himself. He plans to apply for part-time work and is no longer discouraged but excited to share the skills he has learned through the work study program. His experience with Fresno EOC has clearly had a positive impact on his optimism, self-esteem, motivation and vision for his future.