Luis Escobar was a high school junior when he learned about CONNECT2Careers (C2C) through the program’s partnership with Big Futures,a career planning component to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentorship program, and the City of San Diego’s summer mentoring program. Luis wanted to gain real-world work experience and ease himself into the job market, so he took C2C’s My First Job class, a 15-hour soft skills and work-readiness course.

“It is intimidating to see such a large world out there, [but the course] really helped me build confidence in my future,” said Luis. “It gave me the skills to be successful in the real world […] preparing me for the chance to find jobs I had never heard of before.”

After taking the My First Job course, Luis was invited to apply for C2C’s School Break Externship program. He was selected for a winter break work experience with the City of San Diego Mayor’s Office and a spring break work experience with IDW Publishing, an award-winning publisher of graphic novels, comic books and trade paperbacks. During his experience with IDW Publishing, Luis was able to work directly for Lorelei Bunjes, the company’s Vice President of Digital Services.

Luis told us his life “has a whole new perspective” after these two work experiences. “These jobs have opened my eyes to the many opportunities in the real world. I can adapt and be well-equipped for anything life has to throw at me. I am more mature and more capable. […] I feel experienced and that I can achieve anything I set my mind to do. [C2C has] opened the doors to future opportunities for me.”

“I want to thank C2C for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work for organizations that truly make a difference in the world,” Luis told us. “They showed me that truly anything is possible out in the ‘real world.’ Any dream is achievable with passion, heart, and the will to work until it is no longer a thought but a reality.”

If you’d like to find training and work opportunities like Luis did, visit c2csd.org/youth to register and begin your job search today.