We are always amazed at the progress our alumni make as they expand into the world of work. They go from greenies to seasoned PAs in just a short amount of time. Soon, they are experts on set, and they come back to ManifestWorks to share their experience with other participants following in their footsteps.
Meet Alex, a ManifestWorks alumni from Spring 2018.
Alex came to ManifestWorks with no work experience. Alex tells us, “I knew people that had had success going through ManifestWorks, but I didn’t know much about it. I just knew I really wanted to be a part of it. ManifestWorks turned out to be way more than I expected.”
During our 11-week program, Alex jumped right in. He took advantage of every opportunity, with a special focus on networking. Before ManifestWorks, Alex had never gone to an interview, filled out an application or even worked a job. He was starting at square one.
ManifestWorks’ job training programs places a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Alex found this approach - both on set and by professionals working in the industry - very helpful. “The trip to Quixote was huge, literally huge. Sometimes on set, there is a new PA that got brought on by a friend or something, and they have no experience. They literally can’t even put up a pop-up tent. Knowing what you are doing on set goes a long way. And ManifestWorks not only taught us everything we needed to learn, but taught us how to speak up and ask questions if we didn’t. That’s why production coordinators and other people that hire always want a ManifestWorks PA on their set: We are the best trained.”
Looking back a year from his start in the entertainment industry is a little mind blowing for Alex. “It’s given me peace of mind. It’s given me more drive. Now, I think Wow - I really can do this. It’s really happening. I’m so motivated to keep pushing forward.”
Having consistent, living-wage income has a rippling effect, too. More than 70% of those starting ManifestWorks receive welfare. One year later, that number drops to just 7%. That increase in self-sufficiency cuts reliance - and stress - on others. At graduation, Alex brought someone very special to him to see his achievement: his grandmother. “She loves that I’m working a lot. She’s thrilled. She gets to see me doing something I love and enjoy and always asks how my day went verses being worried about me.”
Alex likes to look forward, “In the next five years, I should definitely be an Assistant Director by then,” he said. “This job has given me more freedom - even though I’m so busy with work. It’s given me time, free time to enjoy camping or catch a movie without worrying if I can afford to take the time off.”
All of us at ManifestWorks couldn’t be more inspired by our alumni and their transformation. We’ve found that when a participant is motivated, supported and has feelings of hope, they succeed. For those impacted by foster care, incarceration or homelessness, ManifestWorks puts alumni in a position to change their lives. For example, fewer than 1% of ManifestWorks alumni who came to us with a history of incarceration return back into the system. Compare that to the 65% recidivism rate in California, and ManifestWorks alumni are truly changing their lives for the better.