City Works Academy Class of 2014- Where Are They Now?
The Austin CityWorks Academy is an inside look at how the Austin government works. Participants develop a rich understanding of the City's governmental processes through 12 weekly classes and many hands on opportunities. Check out below to see what some of the Class of 2014 graduates are up to now!
Since his time in the CityWorks Academy, Avi Cohen has continued to work in City of Austin engagement initiatives after learning about all that the city offers and the various departments that help the city function. He uses his CityWorks knowledge on a daily basis to help other Austinites around him, directing them to the many study resources of the library or the unique exhibits at the Austin Nature and Science Center. He has also gotten a new job since CityWorks and credits his experience in the Academy on his resume as showing his community leadership skills and helping him land the job.
While his graduation from the program is rather recent, he has already attended a Conversation Corps meeting and signed up to be a host of future Conversation Corps. Cohen is also very interested in serving on a board or commission, when those positions open up in July. He credits his experience in CityWorks to contributing his awareness and desire to getting involved in Conversation Corps and serving on Board or Commission.
In Cohen’s own words,
“CityWorks definitely opened my eyes to much of what the City has to offer and all of its departments. I know of more fun places to go, more programs and opportunities that are available, and feel more connected to my city.”
Alexis Gonzales is not only a graduate of the 2014 CityWorks Academy, but also a graduate of the Citizens Police Academy and soon to be graduate of St. Edwards University with a degree in criminal justice pre-law major and a psychology minor. Gonzales also currently interns at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Prior to entering the Academy, Gonzales admits she was “embarrassed about how little [she] knew about all the departments that allow the City to function.” Not wanting to be unware or uninformed she applied for CityWorks to learn the ins and outs of Austin. Not only did she leave the program as a more educated citizen and individual, she picked up many opportunities and experiences during and following her time in CityWorks.
During one of the meetings with a presentation by the Office of the Police Monitor, Gonzalez was told about open spots on the Citizen Review Panel and after applying and interviewing, she was offered a spot on the panel by the City Manager. This position has included ride-alongs with APD and getting to use the firearms training simulator.
Gonzales also heard about the Fire—Community Advisory Board (F-CAB) through the Austin Fire Department during her time in the Academy and was able to apply and be placed on the board this past month.
Gonzales credits CityWorks for getting her more deeply involved with the community even though she’s only twenty-one years old, explaining that
“I cannot say enough how grateful I've been for all the opportunities that have come my way. Had I not done the CityWorks Academy...I do not think I would be where I'm at. A lot of people tell me that it's great that I'm so young and am doing all these things, but age shouldn't be the great part about it. The great part should be about getting involved in one's community, no matter what your age.”
Always eager for more ways to be involved, Gonzales is also looking into opportunities with CASA of Travis County and VIPS with APD.
Since her graduation from the program Mary Arnett has been involved in many community organizations. She has a long standing involvement in the Friends of North Shoal Creek neighborhood association.
However, Arnett has also expanded her engagement to involvement to Austinites for Urban Rail Action (AURA) and The Citizen Led Austin Safety Partnership (CLASP). AURA works to better land use and transportation policy to make Austin greener, more affordable, and more livable. CLASP, another positive neighborhood initiative program that focuses on crime prevention through neighborhood watch groups, affiliated organizations and individuals working to increase neighborhood safety. In addition to all of these groups, Arnett also is currently serving on the Fire Department Citizen Advisory Council.
Looking forward, Arnett will also be one of the wonderful hosts of the Conversation Corps program, a joint initiative between Leadership Austin, Capitol Metro, AISD and the City of Austin. There she will host engaging and meaningful conversation topics each month that will bring important issues and civic topics to the community, increasing input on public issues.
Courtney loved her time at the CityWorks Academy and found the speakers, topics and staff to be spectacular.
She is currently in the 83rd Class for the Austin Citizen Police Academy, an experience she heard about through the CityWorks Academy. Through the fourteen week Citizen Police Academy course she is learning about how the Police Department works in Austin. The program itself has grown from nineteen to almost one-hundred participants in just three years.
Horm says that
“[She] had a great experience week after week and [she] would recommend the CityWorks Academy to anyone and highly encourage all citizens to apply for the prestigious opportunity.”
Where could CityWorks Academy take you?
- Madeline Krebs, Community Engagement Intern