A look at the College to County Mentorship program in action
The College to County Mentorship program connects young people with career pathways to public service. Through our program, Multnomah County is working to recruit and develop our workforce in an equitable way. During a pandemic that has isolated so many of us, our program held on to one of our core values: building relationships.
Keep reading to learn more about one example of mentorship, with intern Gracelynn Enlet and mentor Judith Guzman-Montes, as they delivered culturally specific services to Multnomah County Library patrons.
We asked Enlet, a George Fox University graduate, to share her internship experience from this past summer.
“Getting an internship secured while still in quarantine was nerve-racking. I was not sure how my interview would go if I did not go for an in-person interview. The data was also showing that Pacific Islanders were at a significantly higher risk for contracting COVID-19; hence, I was hesitant to accept a position and, in turn, be putting my family at risk.
“However, I was grateful to be offered a position with the Rockwood Library Makerspace where I was able to telework. My mentor, Judith, walked me through everything that I needed to know, from getting hired to the challenge of navigating the Makerspace online. I appreciate Judith for pushing me to connect my community involvement to my work by getting involved with a COVID-19 testing event for Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. I also really enjoyed testing out Maker Minikits at home with my nieces and nephews — that process really encouraged collaborative learning.
“All in all, the College to County Mentorship Program has challenged me to look at things from different perspectives to ensure equitable outcomes. Do patrons have internet access, do they have the technology to make the kits, or do they know how to use that technology are all questions that we have to apply critical thinking to in order to serve the community well.”
We then asked Guzman-Montes, programming specialist in the Multnomah County Library Makerspace, to reflect on her mentorship experience during COVID-19.
“Gracelynn has skill sets that the library desperately needs to connect with our youth and our diverse community, and we were so fortunate to have her. For example, Gracelynn was the tester for our Maker Minikits: self-contained STEAM activities in a baggie. Having a fresh perspective and the help of her young family members informed the kits. We have been getting feedback from teens that the kits are just the right amount of challenging, accessible and fun.
“Currently, Gracelynn and I are also preparing her to be a presenter with the library. We are brainstorming programs that would be relevant to the Pacific Islander community and be supported by the equipment and tools of the Makerspace.
“On a personal level, Gracelynn is a lovely human being, and I am more than happy to connect her with professional opportunities. During the pandemic, Gracelynn kept me in line with all the stuff that really matters. She reminded me of the importance of human connection and building relationships. We built rapport by sharing about our backgrounds and families and our professional goals: what she wanted to get out of her internship with the library and future career goals of mine. I am so happy to continue to know her, and I look forward to helping her reach her professional goals.”
Thank you to all mentors and human resource partners for providing an opportunity — an opportunity for our incoming workforce and staff to grow and build relationships together.
If you would like to participate in the College to County Mentorship Program, please reach out to program coordinator Cole Whitehurst (firstname.lastname@example.org).