As a participant in Norwich’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for the past three years, 18-year-old Anthony Diaz had tried his hand at a number of summer gigs in construction. This one, as a paid intern at the Putnam High School Renovation project where O&G is Construction Manager, “was the most beneficial” says Diaz, who graduated from Norwich Technical High School this June. He began his studies in architectural engineering at New England Institute of Technology in September.
O&G Project Engineer Gina Palano was Diaz’s mentor, providing the right blend of direction and freedom to make the most of his experience. “I wouldn’t just tell Anthony the answer to a question, we’d look through drawings and figure it out.” Palano watched him become more independent and competent and arranged to have him sit in on trade and owner meetings to observe the “soft” skills needed to succeed on a project.
This is the first collaboration between O&G and SYEP, part of a broader collaboration with funding partners the State of Connecticut and the Eastern Connecticut Investment Board. Patricia Dixie manages the SYEP Program. She speaks with obvious satisfaction about what Diaz has gleaned from being mentored. “We worked to place Anthony in something appropriate to what he was trying to do with his future. So this has been an awesome, awesome opportunity. It has given him a lot of new skills. He’ll be leaps ahead of his peers in college because of his training here.”