This long-standing jobs program is helping residents build key job skills, and is a support system that they can count on.
As a busy mother of four children, Sasha Mendez was working as a cashier at a local market just making ends meet when she heard about Cambridge Works, the City’s transitional jobs program that helps participants develop general job skills, offers intense case management, and matches them with a 3-month temporary job through employer partners.
“I wanted to better myself and provide more for my kids,” said Mendez about her decision to apply to Cambridge Works, where she was subsequently accepted. “I always dreamed of working in an office environment but would apply places and get turned down because I didn’t have a degree.”
Mendez would soon learn that Cambridge Works would open new doors for her, help her improve her confidence and interview skills, and assist her in obtaining an internship as an Administrative Assistant in the Quality and Safety Department at Mount Auburn Hospital, one of the City’s new employer partners.
“I was a very independent person and never asked for help; just knowing that I had this help that I didn’t know I was even looking for has meant a lot, and made a big difference in my life,” said Mendez in reference to the great coaching and support she received from the Cambridge Works staff. “They really helped me improve my communication and interview skills. Before I was shy and quiet and nervous, and now I can go into an interview and feel confident about myself and sell myself more.”
Tyisha Dottin, a lifelong resident of Cambridge and the mother of a four-year-old daughter, felt like she was in a dead-end job when she decided to apply to Cambridge Works. She was thrilled to learn she had been accepted and excited to embark on a new journey that could hopefully lead to a professional job.
Intensive Case Management
“I really liked the way the staff worked one-on-one with us to help us get where we need to be,” said Dottin. “I feel like I’ve learned lifelong skills I can apply anywhere I go.”
Dottin obtained an internship as a receptionist in the Office of the Vice President for Finance at MIT, another new employer partner for the City. Her dedication to the internship led to an offer of a temporary position, which she began after graduating from Cambridge Works this past December.
“This is not an easy program and we have standards for success,” said Richard Harding, one of the original organizers of the program and emcee of the most recent Cambridge Works graduation in December. “No City invests more
in its people than Cambridge.”
Prior to presenting the diplomas, Cambridge Works Program Manager Michael Merullo explained the critical role that employer partners play in this comprehensive process as participants would, otherwise, not be able to obtain the important work experience they are able to provide.
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale congratulated the graduates and added his thanks to the employer partners. He also commended the staff for their unwavering dedication to the success of Cambridge Works.
“This City is about working together to make things better for all of us, and this program does it better than most,” DePasquale said. “The Cambridge Works staff are a big part of the program’s success. I often say, the best part of being City Manager is the people who work in this City. To them, it’s not just a job, it’s a passion. When you have a passion, the people who you work with can feel that passion and it brings out the best in them; when you talk about a team that does it right, this group (Cambridge Works staff) shows about as much passion as any employees in the City.”
DePasquale left the graduates with one final message: “I know the relationship that you’ve built with the staff at Cambridge Works is one thing you can count on. And if you meet bumps along the road, please reach out to us, because we are
here to help.”