About 38 young adults participated in a city of Fort Worth paid learning program for eight weeks this summer. 

The Next Gen Career Development program participants, called ambassadors, graduated and celebrated at their convocation Aug. 5.

Guests attend the Next Gen Career Development program graduation on Aug. 5 at the Botanic Garden Lecture Hall, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Sidney Esquivel, a program ambassador, worked directly with the city’s communications and public engagement department to aid with the MyFW mobile app.

“The internship has given me the needed skills to pursue a career here or in any city,” Esquivel said.

Of 80 applicants, 37 ambassadors were selected and dispersed between 17 city departments. The youngest ambassador was 17, a junior in high school, and the oldest ambassador was 23 and a senior in college.

Ambassadors were paid $14 per hour for 20 hours a week and were required to be Tarrant County residents.

Participating departments:

City Manager
Code Compliance
Communications and Public Engagement
Development Services
Diversity and Inclusion
Economic Development
Financial Management Services
Human Resources
Information Technology
Municipal Court
Neighborhood Services
Park and Recreation
Public Events
Property Management
Transportation and Public Works

Ambassador Ximena Aguilera worked alongside the Development Services department, specifically, zoning and land use.

“I didn’t know about redlining before my internship,” Aguilera said.

The program was designed to “attract and retain young qualified talent that will promote the success and sustainability of the City of Fort Worth,” said Uriel Huerta Silva, a youth services specialist in the Neighborhood Services department.

Next Gen Career Development program participants, called ambassadors, present on what they learned during their 8-week experience. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

“My favorite part as an ambassador advocate was seeing growth within the ambassadors,” Huerta Silva said. “It was also rewarding to hear that many of the ambassadors now seriously consider working for the City of Fort Worth, whereas they never thought about it prior to the program.”

Esquivel and Aguilera experienced a lot throughout their 8-weeks.

“Honestly, it’s so impactful,” Esquivel said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSotoCommunity Engagement Journalist

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...