Cambridge Works graduates take an official portrait March 17 with city staff and officials.

Cambridge Works graduates take an official portrait March 17 with city staff and officials.

From Cambridge Works, March 21, 2016: Cambridge Works, the city’s transitional jobs program for residents ages 18 to 35 who haven’t been able to get or keep jobs, celebrated its 16th graduating class during a special ceremony March 17 at City Hall. The program provides a temporary job with the city and other partner employers while offering intensive case management, soft skills development and job search help to help participants secure an unsubsidized job afterward. Cambridge Works is coordinated through the Office of Workforce Development for the Department of Human Services Program.

As part of the Cambridge Works ceremony, the staff spoke about each of the participants; then the graduates were given the chance to share their story, and most discussed how they overcame their particular challenges with the help of this program and support of the staff.

“For many of you, this was the first step in your journey to employment,” Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson said. “We encourage you to stay in touch with the staff because they want to support you and see you succeed. And congratulations to some of you who have already received job offers.”

Transitional jobs coordinator Mike Merullo expressed his thanks to the employer work sites and supervisors, calling them a major part of “what makes Cambridge Works work.”

After the distribution of certificates, Mayor E. Denise Simmons congratulated the group, telling them how moved she was by their stories.

“It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or how you got here, but where you are going,” Simmons said. “Cambridge Works has helped you obtain the skills you need to help you succeed, and this city is standing behind you.”

Master of Ceremonies Richard Harding, of the city’s Public Health Department, added his thanks to the city administration and City Council for believing the program could make a difference and helping Cambridge residents as it has for the past 16 years.