Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Successful Internships #3: WineLife


This is the third in a series of three posts exploring what makes an internship successful for both the intern and the employer.

Veronique Fitzgerald is the proprietor of WineLife, a new shop, not yet open, that is dedicated to all things wine in the heart of Stapleton. While Ms. Fitzgerald has been steadily working towards a grand opening of her boutique wine shop, there was a lot of work yet to do and she was in need of some assistance. When she heard about the ACE internship program through another of our worksites she gave us a call. After a lengthy interview with her, one of our interns, Yamil Gonzalez, was placed at her shop.

Ms. Fitzgerald explained that the experience has opened her eyes to the fact that there are so many young people in the community that are looking for work and more than that, good experiences. “Having an intern has made me a more responsible employer. I have not always been very good at scheduling but having someone who I am responsible for has had an impact on me. I have to be on time. I have only had myself to respond to previously but now I am being proactive, scheduling and looking ahead.”

“The more he learned the more initiative he had. He would then take ownership of different tasks without my having to follow up which helped tremendously as my business continued to come together. I have been very fortunate to have him as my intern, he thinks on his feet and it has been a good match. We talk throughout the day and I encourage him to further his education and think about what his future will bring. But he has taught me some things as well. He knows Photoshop much more than I do and he has helped me with my on line notices for events at the shop. He’s really a wonderful young person and we are not just coworkers we have become friends.”

The internship program has been a great success for me. It has provided me with an opportunity to test drive the person, to see if they are right for my shop and in Yamil’s case it is. When Yamil is done with his internship I plan to hire him.”

Yamil Gonzalez

Yamil is a 19 year old graduate of Port Richmond High School. He was referred to us by the guidance office at Port Richmond as someone who could use assistance in moving forward with his career.

“When I came to the shop for the interview I was really nervous because I didn’t know what I was getting into. The first day of work was a little scary because I still didn’t know what to expect but I quickly got comfortable and saw that I could take on more. I felt myself growing and maturing as time went on. I learned a lot about business, all the aspects, all the planning to open a shop. It is a lot of hard work.”

I am grateful for the opportunity the internship has provided me. I have learned how to schedule myself in all parts of my life like making sure I get to bed early enough to get up for work. I’ve also learned how to budget my money, pay bills and have money for myself.”

“Ms. Fitzgerald has been a great mentor to me. She has opened my eyes to the other side of food and drink. You don’t think about it much when you sit in a restaurant you just want to eat but being on the other side is a different story. I’ve learned so much about wine, how its made, the different regions and also a lot about how different cheeses go with different wines.”

“She has been very supportive of my choice to go to culinary school and when I go she will adjust my schedule to fit in with school. The most valuable lesson she has taught me is how to be responsible, how to carry myself as a mature adult. It is a great place to work.”

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