First Workings helps youth land career-enhancing internships

Sebasthian Vargas of Mott Haven was able to leverage experience he gained in a summer internship he obtained through non-profit First Workings into a job with a local construction company. First Workings also provided workforce training.
Photo courtesy of First Workings

A summer internship arranged by a non-profit has become a full-time paying job for one fortunate young man.

Sebasthian Vargas, a 17-year-old student at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science II, recently completed both workforce development training and a two-week internship at a Manhattan engineering firm provided by and arranged for by First Workings.

First Workings, is a non-profit that situates students in paid internships and provides training and comprehensive supports for young people of color or those from low-income backgrounds, according to the organization.

Vargas told the Bronx Times that he recently completed a two-week internship at RAND Engineering & Architecture.

The short experience has enabled Vargas, who lives with his mom in Mott Haven, to land a job with a construction company, according to Vargas.

First Workings had partnered with his high school, where he was recommended to the program, said Vargas.

“Some of the staff knew I was having trouble finding a job and getting work experience,” said Vargas. “First Workings basically was interested in getting to know who I was and what I was interested in.”

The young man has an affinity for architecture and engineering, he said, and he aspires to become a landscape architect or to work in mechanical engineering.

Before he began his internship at RAND Engineering & Architecture, First Workings provided him with a MetroCard and Vargas said that First Workings provided a tutorial on what he should expect in the workplace.

The tutorial covered how to dress for success and also taught him how to communicate properly with others and to network with people to further his opportunities.

“First Workings trained me and helped me get to where I want to be in life,” said Vargas. “They did not shut me down because I lacked experience.”

During his internship, Vargas said that he participated in activities like yoga that were sponsored by the company.

He also made it a point to introduce himself to key personnel from day one, he said.

When the internship was over, Vargas said he penned notes to the individuals at the company that were helpful and from which he learned a lot.

At RAND Engineering & Architecture, Vargas said he went out into the field and worked with engineers and architects on a number of projects, including building façade work.

RAND Engineering & Architecture said that Vargas stood out in a good way.

“Right from the first day, Sebasthian stood out with his enthusiasm, readiness to learn, and strong communication skills,” said Isabelle Walsh, RAND’s human resources coordinator.

“He embraced every challenge given to him, and always asked to do more.”

Chloe Mullarkey, First Workings executive director, said that Vargas was an “amazing ambassador” for the internship program.

“Sebasthian is an incredible young man with enormous personality. He’s the type of student who will take initiative and really put himself out there to make things happen,” said Mullarkey.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

More from Around NYC