13 Youth Shine


Poughkeepsie, NY: On August 11th, Mill Street Loft’s Project ABLE (Arts, Basic education, Life skills, and Entrepreneurship) program welcomed community members to celebrate the many achievements of this year’s graduating class. Shailee Johnson, a former Project ABLE Youth Employee and this year’s key note speaker, shared her life experiences and educational journey with students that led to her current position of Director of Development Research at Marist College.

muralEstablished in 1994, Project ABLE is an arts-based career exploration and job skills training program that addresses the needs of City of Poughkeepsie youth, ages 14-18, facing multiple barriers to employment. This summer, Project ABLE Youth Employees participated in many workshops such as resume writing, portfolio development, public presentations, mock job interviews, workplace etiquette, financial literacy, decision-making, problem-solving, and team-building. Each week Youth Employees researched various occupations and visited local businesses: The Gap (Fishkill Distribution Center), MidHudson Regional Hospital, Wing’s Castle, Norrie Point Environmental Center, Century 21/Anita Ferri Realty, Krause’s Chocolates, Lokie Studio, Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie, and other worksites. Throughout the summer, Youth Employees also worked with a local artist, Joe Pimentel, to create a Public Art Mural to soon be installed on the facade of the gymnasium at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.

Thanks to a grant received from the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board our Youth Employees received a minimum wage salary to “earn while they learned”.