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Getting a head start on careers

July 10, 2004

Gary Moskowitz

When future employers ask 15-year-old Tamar Hadjimanoukian, "What

experience do you have?" and, "Why should we hire you?" she'll have

good answers.

Tamar, a sophomore at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, is spending

her summer working as a clerical assistant in the chief's office at

the Glendale Police Department. She got the job through the Glendale

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Youth Alliance, which is a local, grant-supported organization that

helps place local youth into paid jobs.

Every weekdays afternoon, Tamar answers phones, does filing and

computer work for Glendale Police employees working in the chief's

office.

"I want to do criminal law, as a lawyer, when I get older," Tamar

said. "It seems like a fun profession, and interesting, so I want to

know more about it. I was so excited when I heard about the opening

at the police department, because it fits into what I want to do.

It's awesome that the [Glendale Youth Alliance] gets us these jobs,

because no one takes you seriously as a 15-year-old looking for a

job. You need experience to get experience, and GYA gives that to

you."

Just down the hall in the same office, 17-year-old Aroutin "Art"

Hartounian is also busy at work.

Art graduated from Hoover High School in June, and has been

working from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays at Glendale Police

Headquarters.

Art works for Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz, collecting

newspaper articles that mention the Glendale Police Department. He

compiles the information in a binder, so everyone in the building is

"in the loop" on current events.

Art moved to Glendale five years ago from Iran, and spoke no

English. He hopes to become a police officer and later attend law

school and become a politician.

"I think this is a dream come true," Art said. "Everybody in Iran

said all I could do in America is become either a police officer or

join the military. But in America you have the opportunity to do what

you want. I want to be a police officer because I think it's

important to serve your community or country in some way. But I have

the opportunity to go as far as I want."

Both Tamar and Art earn minimum wage, which is $6.75 an hour.

The Glendale Youth Alliance, for the past 10 years, has provided

job opportunities for local youth, 14 to 21. The GYA is primarily a

grant-funded organization that operates out of the city's

neighborhood services division of the Community Development and

Housing Department.

"They learn job skills, how to show up on time, how to dress and

relate with supervisors," said Sarah Watson, a program specialist for

the GYA. "All we ask employers for is their time, energy and talents.

We take care of the rest. We want kids to get tangible experience

they can put on a resume. We also monitor their schooling, provide

tutoring and make sure they're not ditching school and that

everything at school is going OK."

The GYA includes a summer brush clearance program, a Students

Taking Action Reaching for the Stars job program and a Glendale Youth

Employment Partnership. For more information on the Glendale Youth

Alliance, call 548-3727.

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