International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Connect 2 Work

 Photo: Students pose after their interviews for a summer internship.  Jessica Wawrzyniak/The IRC

Connect2Work is a work readiness training program that serves at-risk and low income students at Crawford High School.  Students meet once a week for 16 weeks and learn how to prepare an effective resume, apply and interview for a job, and succeed in an entry-level job by learning skills such as conflict management, customer service, and professional communication.

After the training, students are placed in paid internships over the summer to enhance their resumes and give them hands-on experience in the career path of their choice.  In addition to earning incentives throughout the program through Work Readiness classes, tutoring, and community service, students also have the ability to go on field trips to various colleges in Southern California. 

Students also have the opportunity to attend career exploration workshops and field trips to a variety of work sites that explore the different industries in San Diego to increase the students’ knowledge of career options.

Connect2Work is a part of IRC's Youth Programs. 

Program Spotlights

Hiep Ha

Photo: Jessica Wawrzyniak/The IRC

Hiep Ha, who arrived from Vietnam just a few years ago, initially struggled with English and getting involved in school activities.

Now that he’s participated in the IRC’s Connect2Work program and focused heavily on improving his communication skills and College Prep, Hiep was accepted into San Diego City College’s EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) which prepares incoming students for the rigors of college and provides supplemental classes and support.

Since starting the program this June, Hiep has received a Spirit Award, Perfect Attendance Award, and the Academic Achievement Award.

We look forward to seeing Hiep’s continued success.



Thao Tran 

Thao Tran has impressed us with what she has been able to accomplish through our program, and we are very excited for her next steps after graduating from Crawford High School.

Thao came to the United States three years ago from Vietnam and initially struggled to learn English and adjust to the new culture and school system. Getting plugged into the IRC Connect2Work program helped her thrive .

Thao received one-on-one assistance with college applications, personal statement revision, financial aid, and scholarship applications through the IRC weekly college prep course.  She also participated in a college tour to the University of San Diego. 

Her hard work and involvement paid off as Thao received acceptance letters from the following universities: UC Berkeley, University of San Diego, UCLA, UCSD, SDSU, Mills College, University of the Pacific, as well as three CSU schools. In addition, she was awarded several grants and scholarships to assist with her financial needs.  

As you may have guessed from her photo, Thao has decided to attend UC Berkeley.

Photo: Jessica Wawrzyniak/The IRC

Thao has also been able to take great steps toward her future through the work readiness and career development components of the IRC Connect2Work program.  With an interest in health sciences, Thao attended multiple Career Exploration Days and received a personalized tour of a bio-tech facility at Life Technologies in Carlsbad, all of which increased her understanding of this dynamic career field.

Thao recently began at internship at the UCSD Medical Center’s Pharmacy Department with assistance from IRC's employment team.  

We wish Thao continued success as she completes our program and pursues higher education and a promising career. 

For more information, please contact Youth Programs Department Manager Carolyn Smyth at








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