Five Hillside Work Scholarship Students Working at This Year’s Fest

June 20, 2018

Five job-ready students, ages 15 to 17, who have gone through the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection job training program, will be working at this year’s Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival in a number of key jobs including corporate hospitality, in the merchandise tent, and at will call.

Festival Executive Producer Marc Iacona and Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection Vice Chair Howie Jacobson began talking last year about what the festival could do to connect students to the major nine-day event.  

The five students working at the festival are Ianica Dougherty (age 15), Ashleigh Hunter (age 15), Keyonah McClary (age 17), Jaydin Rounds (age 17), and Svahn Wilson (age 15).

“This is the first time students are participating in a major event in Rochester,” said Jacobson. “Most job placement initiatives are part-time jobs throughout the year and summer, where students work at Wegmans, the UR, RGH, and many other employers in the community.”

“This presents an exceptional opportunity for the students to participate in the community’s signature music event,” said Iacona. “They will have a great job on their resume, gain a sense of pride in being a part of the event, see live music, and be on the front lines of interacting with customers, an important aspect they will face in future jobs.”

Students will be utilizing and building effective interpersonal and communication skills, assisting with processing financial transactions, paying attention to detail, multi-tasking, troubleshooting issues and providing positive helpful customer service.

For over 30 years, the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection has helped students overcome the barriers that cause them to drop out and abandon their education. We change the norm for students and families living in generational poverty by giving them necessary guidance and the tools to be successful in school – expanding their access to post-secondary education, technical training and employment opportunities.

“A key factor driving this program’s success is that we have a full time advocate, a trusted adult who these kids have access to seven day a week all year long,” added Jacobson.  “That’s one of the things these kids don’t always have.”

The students and their coordinator, Ruth Torres, Hillside Works Scholarship Connection Employment Specialist attended the Festival’s annual VIP Reception last week.