The Launch Pad Teen Center, a local non-profit organization, is now offering their workforce readiness program free and on-line beginning Saturday, April 18th!  The program, called Project Launch, is a series of workshops that take place over the course of four Saturdays. The program’s director and instructor, Denise Herst, is a 35-year veteran of Intel Corporation — a technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California in Silicon Valley. Herst describes the program as not only providing teens with the competitive advantages they need in an aggressive job market with topics like interviewing, but also with essential interpersonal skills such as effective communication, tools for dealing with difficult people, help in maintaining a positive mental attitude, and the power of GRIT. When describing what GRIT is to her students, Herst explains, “It’s developing expertise in handling those challenging events that life presents to you when you least expect it.” Herst believes these skill sets are more vital than ever now that we find ourselves in uncharted territory with the Coronavirus pandemic, and what the post-pandemic future holds for our work environment.

In addition to the workshops, Project Launch provides teens with an opportunity to obtain summer internships with local businesses of their choosing.  Herst assists teens in interviewing and contacting potential business sponsors.  

Registration for the free program opens April 6th, and workshops begin Saturday, April 18th.  Students will use the popular remote conferencing system Zoom to attend the workshops. Zoom can be accessed with a computer or the Zoom app on a smartphone.  Students who complete the four Saturday workshop series will receive a signed certificate of completion, and those who complete their summer internships will receive letters of recommendation as well!

The program consistently receives positive reviews from teens each year.  One student summed it up by saying, “Hearing the insights on the different topics, as well as hearing opinions from my peers really helped me to have light bulb moments and understand business techniques. The information we received, as well as the activities we did, were a huge help with learning life’s lessons, and work readiness skills.” Another student wrote, “As someone who plans to attend business school, Project Launch is an invaluable opportunity!”  Adding, “I was eager to learn about networking techniques and email etiquette, as well as how to persevere in the face of challenges. I simply couldn’t be more grateful to learn these necessary skills at a young age!” 

For more information, or to register, contact Denise Herst at or 480-235-8049.  You can also visit The Launch Pad Teen Center at to learn more about this program, and additional on-line programs for teens.