How to gain work experience to launch your career

How to gain work experience to launch your career
How to gain work experience to launch your career
Posted at 3:12 AM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 12:00:44-04

EL PASO COUNTY — Job searches are never fun and many of you have been forced to think outside the box.

But we want you to know there is a way forward as we all rebound. So, we're sharing how you can gain more job experience to get a leg up.

If, for instance, you've been let go from a job you weren't truly passionate about in the first place, this could be the opportunity you've been waiting for to pursue a career you've overlooked before.

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is there to help you find the right fit. Their counselors can meet with you virtually, and get you free training and work experience to set yourself up for the next big thing.

Specifically, PPWFC has internship programs hiring out-of-school-youth.

Eligibility includes folks who have a disability, dropped out of school, or became a parent.

"We meet our clients where they are, not where we think they should be," said Traci Marques, Executive Director and CEO of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

Here is a quick guide on PPWFC Young Adult Programs:

Young Adults who just need a job

  • Create an account in
  • Sign up for and attend workshops like:
  • Create a Better Resume
  • LinkedIn and Your Job Search: Design an All-Star Profile
  • LinkedIn and Your Job Search: Now What?
  • H.I.R.E.D (Helpful Internet Resources. . .)
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Branding and Networking Your Way to Your Next Job
  • Workplace Survival Kit (5 part series)

Young Adults who need financial assistance to meet their employment or educational goals

•Create an account in
•Call 719-667-3860 to speak with Young Adult Services representative to sign up OR
•Sign up for an orientation on
•Click Young Adult Services>Services>Training and Skills Upgrades•Scroll down to the red arrow, and click it to register

Young Adults who need résumé and interview help right now!

• > Work and Careers


•Age 16 to 24 and not attending school
•Fall within one or more of the following categories:
–Individual with a disability–School dropout
–A high school graduate who is: basic skills deficient; low income, or an English language learner.
–Homeless, runaway, or foster child
–Pregnant or parenting
–A low-income individual who requires additional assistance to enter or complete an educational program or to secure or hold employment


•Paid and Unpaid Work Experiences
•Tutoring, Study Skills Training, Dropout Prevention Strategies
•Occupational Skills Training
•Alternative Secondary School offerings/Dropout Recovery Services
•Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling•Integrated Education and Occupational Training
•Financial Literacy Education
•Entrepreneurial Skills Training
•Leadership Development Activities
•Supportive Services
•Adult Mentoring
•Follow-up Services
•Post-secondary Preparation
•Labor Market Information

Internships are currently hiring in fields like construction and medical care.

"It's not just about giving them a job," Marques pointed out. "It's about giving them that step ahead, that hand up not that hand out to really be able to help people and journey with them as they go down that path."

Candidates just have to complete a soft skills training program, where they're taught things like how to dress and how to interact with employers.

"We know you can do this," she added. "We believe in you. And we're here to walk and journey with you."

From there, PPWFC sets you up with an organization you can see yourself working for in the long run.

"[You can] look at those additional career pathways that you may be interested in and you put on the back-burner because you needed to do this right away to provide," she explained. "But now you have that opportunity to refocus, rethink, 'Can I use this time at home to be able to start training or start preparing for the future? And what experience can I start putting into play now that's going to be effective years down the road?'"

If you lost your job due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for emergency grant funding that will cover the training that you need.
PPWFC's internships for out-of-school youth consist of 360 hours of work experience and counselors do monthly follow-ups to make sure interns are on the right track.