San Francisco, CA – Nearly 80 youth residents completed workforce development and internship programs offered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in August. The successful engagement of the programs reflects the agency’s longstanding commitment to empowering the next generation of San Francisco leaders.
“When we provide meaningful career opportunities for our young residents, we help instill a special bond with the City and a commitment to public service for our future leaders,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly Jr. “Our City is in good hands with this group of committed, dedicated and hard-working young individuals.”
On August 10, the SFPUC celebrated the graduation class of 15 interns enrolled in the agency’s Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) Cityworks initiative. The six-week endeavor is a paid internship program that provides youth residents from San Francisco’s Southeast neighborhoods with work-based learning and mentorship opportunities.
The program connects the enrollees, aged 16 – 19, with public and private entities working on the SSIP, part of the SFPUC Wastewater's 10-year capital investments to upgrade the City’s sewer infrastructure. The SSIP Cityworks initiative aims to increase diversity in engineering, project management, communications and other related fields.
“SSIP Cityworks has opened many doors for me,” said Larry Mai, who took part in the program and will be entering the University of California, Santa Barbara this fall. “It gave me many opportunities to network and gain valuable experience in a work environment. This internship has also helped me develop my interest in engineering even more. Participating here has given me many unforgettable memories and life skills I will remember.”
In addition to the SSIP Cityworks program, 64 youth residents interned at the SFPUC through the Project Pull initiative. Co-founded by Harlan L. Kelly Jr. in 1996, Project Pull is committed to diversifying the City’s workforce by providing mentoring and paid work experience to local youth.
The program focuses on promoting values in leadership, teamwork, integrity, creativity and community experience. Project Pull is eight weeks long for high school students and 12 weeks long for college students. On August 9, the 64 participants interning at the SFPUC through Project Pull were honored at the program’s closing ceremony at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center. Of those participants, 40 were high school students and 24 were enrolled in college.
“This is my fifth year in Project Pull and I have enjoyed every summer of it," said Kelly Omran, who has participated in the Project Pull program since 2014, is set to enter her senior year at the University of San Francisco. “Every summer has been different and unique. I have been able to make long lasting connections with other interns and mentors. As a first-generation college student, I was not as aware of the many opportunities that the city had to offer. I am super grateful that I found out about this opportunity through my school and that Lisa Miles-Wilkerson was able to give me my first job. She has been like a mom to me and has provided me with endless support, love, advice and for that I am forever grateful.”
Project Pull and the SSIP Cityworks initiatives are two of the many internship and career development programs offered by the SFPUC. For more than 20 years, the SFPUC has worked with various partners to provide thousands of students and early career professionals with internships, apprenticeships and work experience opportunities. More information about the SFPUC programs can be found here.