Posts tagged ‘Career’

School vs. Work

During the summer, many students choose to get a job. A summer job, in

Van Crawford

Van Crawford

some ways, can be much better than time spent otherwise at school.  But, for some it can just remind them of how much they miss school. The youth at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) have been debating on which they prefer.

Jason Barnes says he’d rather wake up in the morning and go to work as opposed to going to school. He says that work is more of a drama-free environment that allows him to concentrate on the tasks before him, without having to worry about distractions. Because Jason goes to a school which doesn’t end until late in the afternoon, he says that this leaves him tired; which ultimately makes work his choice of preference. Summer youth Anna Marie thinks differently. She much rather prefers being at school. She thinks that school keeps her more engaged. She also thinks that at school she can have more of a laid back attitude about things; whereas at work you must have more of a professional and stern way of thinking. There will always be others, such as Ahmed Brown, who has an in-between feeling on which he feels keeps him more active. He cannot decide what he’s more pleased to wake up and start his day doing. Ahmed enjoys school and work both the same. He feels that they both equally keep him busy, although if he had to choose he would probably choose school because of the level of friendships he has there.

The general analysis of choice around the office can definitely not be determined. Most kids constantly crave for summer during the entire nine months of the school year. But, in most cases, unless a child is doing something that they absolutely love during the summer, they will be anxious to go back to school. A summer job for some youth is most certainly something that takes getting used to. But, for most, anything will always be better than waking up every morning and going to school.

–Van Crawford

At the Midway Point!

DCRA summer youth are gaining a wide variety of skills.

DCRA summer youth are gaining a wide variety of skills.

The summer youth at DCRA have been enjoying a program and environment that have been very beneficial to the participants. We are now at the halfway point, and many of the youth have developed professional and productive skills that will help them in many of their future career aspirations. Although there are still a few more weeks left to learn something new in the program, many youth feel that they can take the skills that they have learned so far and apply them to their other fields of interest.

Summer youth Lawrence Cross told me that his time here has taught him the importance of being a professional and the benefits that it can bring to him. So far, one of the biggest highlights of the summer program has been the weekly professional development sessions.  I talked to some of the youth to see what they thought about the professional development sessions. They stated that they thought the career fashion show and last week’s sessions with professionals from the law enforcement industry were two of the top so far.

As for filling the expectations of the program, many feel that DCRA has been able to do so, in terms of providing a professional workplace where youth can see, first-hand, the workings of D.C. government.  Some youth did complain of having non-challenging and mundane tasks, but still said that as a whole they are enjoying the program. They also talked of how in the up-coming weeks they expect much of the same that they got in the first of half of the program. With the eventual goal of everyone in the program leaving with a resume, it seems that each youth will be able to add significant substance from their time here at DCRA.

–Willis Bradwell

Spotlight on: Mr. James Gray

Over the past few weeks of the summer youth program here at DCRA,

James Gray

James Gray

members of the communications team have been going around to different departments trying to gain a full perspective on how the agencyworks. One of these trips was to the DCRA office located at 1900 Massachusetts Avenue–better known as D.C. General.

While on this visit, we learned how the inspection process works, and why it is such a vital part of not only DCRA, but the entire city as well. One of the supervisors of inspections is mister James Gray.  Mister Gray is the head supervisor of inspections and compliance for wards 5 and 6 in the District.  He overlooks a team of ten employees who are responsible for inspecting and making sure all plumbing, electricity, and construction is done properly. He has been working with DCRA for 22 years, and says that he loves his job. The biggest reward he gets from his job is knowing that his work directly benefits the community in a positive way.

One of the keys for his department’s success during his time here is good team work. He mentioned that without good team work from his employees, the process of inspecting all properties in wards 5 and 6 would be nearly impossible.

Although mister Gray already has a lot of responsibilities as a head supervisor, his job title does not end there. During the past few years mister Gray has also become a member of D.C.’s emergency response team. This means that during any terrorist attacks or natural disasters, it is mister Gray’s responsibility to help with the assistance of other emergency personnel to try and keep the city under control.

–Willis Bradwell

Spotlight On: Monae Sheffield

Monea Sheffield

Monae Sheffield

This week, I would like to shine the spotlight on summer youth worker Monae Sheffield. Monae is 15 years old and attends Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington, D.C. This upcoming school year, Monae will be entering the 10th grade. She is a very intelligent young lady who loves to read. Her favorite subjects are math and science and she has had the honor of receiving a scholarship for science and human health. Monae has also competed in and won a science fair.

Here, at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Monae is excelling in her work. She has joined the Customer Service division, and is showing exemplary behavior in every task that she has been assigned. During my interview with Monae she gave me an overview of her normal day which consists of handling correspondence calls, scanning and making copies. She expressed her excitement for the up and coming weeks because she will have the opportunity to begin scheduling inspections. Monae also spends a lot of her day with DCRA employee Nikkia Greene. She sits at the front desk of the director’s office. Monea stated that she enjoys working there and she is also aware that the opportunity is a privilege. Working at the front has given Monae the opportunity to enhance her office skills such as; operating telephones, assisting customers and scheduling meetings.

Monae would define herself as great person who enjoys a challenge. She stated that she does not mind picking up slack for her team members. She believes in working together for the betterment of her group or team members. Monae plans to go to college. She wants to attend Princeton, Harvard or Georgetown University and she wants to become a lawyer. She also wants to obtain a degree in business. One day she wants to open a homeless shelter for women and children. She enjoys working for DCRA and is well aware that the techniques and skills that she will learned this summer is to benefit her later in life. She plans on using the knowledge she gained as a tool in high school and throughout her future.

–Dajah Blackwell

Weights & Measures: Still Showing Off

Mr. Lawrence Taylor of the Weights and Measures Department tests a scale at a local hospital.

Mr. Lawrence Taylor of the Weights and Measures Department tests a scale at a local hospital.

A little over a week ago, a few of us from the communications department went to view a presentation by the youth working in the Office of Weights and Measures (OWM). The two summer youth employees that were presenting were Kenneth Allen and Duane Bumbray. They were basically trying to explain to the group what goes on in weights and measures, what weights and measures means, and the different divisions of it.

Kenneth Allen took over explaining OWM’s mission statement, what they do down on the second floor and what they do as summer youth. He was very clear and made it seem like he is really taking this job, even if for the summer only, very seriously. Duane Bumbray touched base on what it is like to conduct a gas inspection. He walked the group through the different phases/steps of the process (including safety, inspection, marketing, math, and the concluding stages), and then also explained what a truck sale inspection is like. Kenneth then wrapped the presentation up by explaining inspections of grocery stores and pre-packaged goods.

Both Kenneth and Duane explained the information thoroughly and without any help from an adult supervisor. They seemed interested in what they have done so far in the department and were willing to share it with the rest of the group. They also were open to questions (even though no one really had any J ) which also showed how they knew their information and didn’t mind sharing that knowledge. Great job guys!

–Lesley Thomas

Making Sure it All Measures Up

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Recently, the communications team was given the opportunity to step outside of the office and see what the folks over in Weights and Measures do on a daily basis. We loaded up the cars and drove to the newly renovated section of Columbia Heights. There, we went to Target and did a price-check. Price-checking is necessary because it ensures that customers are not being ripped off. The point is to pick up 85 random items and make sure that the figures in the computer correspond with the sales tickets/stickers that the consumer sees. It’s easy to be ripped off these days because not many people take the time to make sure that the receipt and the price tag have the same value.

Another thing that causes people to be cheated out of their money is total trust in computers. Inspector Charles Sampson said, “People tend to forget that OTHER people program computers, therefore there are bound to be mistakes.” DCRA only handles overages meaning that the companies only get reprimanded if they advertise that their products are cheaper than what they really are. Luckily for Target, when we made our visit, there were no discrepancies because fines can go up to $100 PER (wrongly priced) item.

After leaving Target we met up with another inspector, Lawrence Taylor, at Giant to see how they test scales. Mr. Taylor goes to the stores with his own weights to make sure that the scale is not faulty in its reading. After moving the weights to each quarter of the scale Mr. Taylor marks the scale with either a green sticker (certified) or a red sticker (uncertified). Removal of the sticker by anyone other than an inspector or someone working on the scale can result in a $500 fine.

Inspections such as these were thought to be unnecessary by some around the time that computers became more widely used, but it’s always important to have a real person monitoring the computers. Inspector Sampson says “it’s very rare that a store won’t have any errors.” DCRA definitely does a good service to the people of the District by making sure that they aren’t being taking advantage when they go shopping.

Summer youth, Kenneth Allen and Duane Bumbray assisted in the inspections.

Darion Parker

Exploring Your Career Options

Check out some of the highlights from last Friday’s second professional development workshop.  DCRA summer youth employment program participants were treated to some great words of wisdom and insight from panelists in four different professions.