Using Art as an Engine for Community Involvement and Social Change

Montgomery Youth Works

Empowerment Through Job Creation

Montgomery Youth Works is a resource for workforce-related youth services in Montgomery County, Maryland. The organization provides youth with meaningful training and job opportunities such as internship programs, job readiness training, and one-on-one career counseling.

The Gary Rosenthal Collection teamed up with Montgomery Youth Works (MYW) to create a unique job training opportunity for youth in Montgomery County. Eligible youth must first participate in MWY's Job Club, whre they meet for three weeks in order to learn essential skills to gain employment, such as how to prepare for an interview, good communication techniques, and workplace expectations. After completing the MYW Job Club, participants join Gary Rosenthal twice a week for a paid training in his arts studio. Rosenthal teaches the process that goes into creating his glass ornaments: first the different colored glass is assembled on a base and fired in a kiln, then each piece is cut, glass beads are added, the ornament is affixed to a metal stem, and the final product is packaged in a box that includes the story of how it was created by MWY youth.

Because each youth learns all the steps and then divides the work between different stations, each participant can learn teamwork while using all the skills learned in the Job Club. To further the training, MYW will be working with the youth to sell the ornaments as a fundraiser. The profits will support future MYW training programs so that more youth will have the necessary skills to enter the workforce.

A portion of the proceeds from these items supports programs like this, as well as arts enrichment projects throughout the community. Thanks for your support!

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