Providing Artistic Opportunities For Our Youth - 10 Questions with Rosemary Thornton, Cultural Service Internship Liaison
"When youth are afforded the opportunity to gain skills and experiences to prepare them to pursue their dreams, we all win." - Rosemary Thornton
In 2018 the City of Jacksonville announced that the Mayor’s Summer Jobs program had been expanded into the Mayor's Youth at Work Partnership. The city partnered with business, education, nonprofit and philanthropic entities to develop an integrated youth employment career pathway system.
The program goals centered around "building the talent pipeline for our local economy by connecting young adults with education and employment career pathways that prepare them to meet the skill demands of employers while leading them to workforce success."
The MYAWP program this summer occurred from June 18, 2018 - July 27, 2018 and included career assessment, employment readiness training, a preceding Youth College and Career Fair and 20-hour work weeks. With the program's expansion, a wide variety of employment opportunities was anticipated.
In an effort to get to know more about the program, we reached out to Rosemary Thornton, Cultural Service Internship Liaison
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Rosemary Thornton and I am the Coordinator/Liaison of the Cultural Council’s Cultural Service Internship program. I’m a proud mother of three, Florida A&M “high stepping” Rattler and an avid Jaguars fan.
Prior to my brief retirement, I worked as a Technology Solutions Professional for both Prudential and IBM Global Services. I consider myself a multifaceted community advocate having previously participated in numerous volunteer activities and programs including those sponsored by my church, the Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievement and United Way of Northeast Florida to name a few. I’m a current member and JSO’s Zone 5 Sheriff’s Watch, Co-Chair of the Council On Elder Affairs (COEA) and one of the co-founders of the non-profit, Renewed Community Initiatives (RECI).
How impactful do you feel the program has been to the you and the students involved?
Last year this program blossomed to one of the largest paid internships in cultural careers in the US with 40 interns. This summer internships included students from around the county and work that was related to the student’s career and occupational choice of jobs in arts and culture.
Describe some of the challenges the students had to face within the program.
One of the challenges was travel time associated with the job opportunities. Interns were willing to learn how to use JTA to get to the job site.
Describe some of the work experiences and/or assignments the students received.
There were 49 employers of which 14 were Cultural Service employers. There were 422 youths employed of which 48 were Cultural Service Interns (CSI).
Nan - Director of Communications + Marketing, MOCA
Alex - Nola MOCA
Their presence has been refreshing for our staff and volunteers, and has eased our workload while strengthening the archives. Their hard work has enabled us to improve the organization of the archives and respond to research requests more efficiently.”
E. Steichen - Office Admin., Jacksonville Historical Society
Brittany, Operations Manager - Beaches Museum & History Park
Celeste Hart - Annual Fund Director, Jacksonville Symphony
Martha Lemire - Executive Director, Florida Ballet
Describe any participant and/or situation that has left a lasting impression on you.
Jakaiah Stephens, Nola MOCA Culinary Arts intern, is an example of a student who connected what he learned in school and applied it to the job. Jakaiah has been offered a part-time job with Nola MOCA.
What have you learned about yourself through your participation with the program?
I enjoy a challenge.
If you could ask for one thing that would help make this program better what would it be?
That more employers become Youth Employer Champions providing students the opportunity to gain professional job experience related to a career goal.
In what ways can the business sector benefit from this kind of program?
The relevancy of the program encourages the intern to accomplish their educational goals by connecting real world situations with what they’re learning as a student.
Why is it important for arts organizations to participate in this kind of program?
Cultural Service Interns boasts a 100% completion rate for our internships. This program provides a way for art organizations to offer interns a variety of exciting and encompassing business-based On-the-Job Training. The on-the-job experience can play an important role in advancing the careers in the arts and organizations that participate benefit from the creativity that the intern brings to the table.
We'd like to thank Rosemary for her participation in this interview. We'd also like to thank you for reading.
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville serves six primary roles in Northeast Florida.
In 2018, we have set the goal of building relationships with 2,018 individual contributors. Whether you make a small gift of $10, make a pledge of a re-occurring sustaining gift, or make a large dollar contribution, your support of the Cultural Council enables the agency to advance its mission of investing in arts and culture to enrich life in Northeast Florida. You can make your contribution as an individual, family, foundation, or business. Your tax deductible donation allows the Cultural Council to support the growth of Greater Jacksonville's arts and cultural sector through initiatives and programs that align with the agency's mission.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email Jihan@CulturalCouncil.org