JCCA teens had the opportunity to learn about career opportunities in design and architecture through a conversation with employees from Gensler. Gensler is a leading global architecture firm with a mission to Create a Better World Through the Power of Design. Gensler is partnering with JCCA to host four virtual Information & Career Exploration sessions with JCCA young people to spark and cultivate their interest in architecture and design professions.

The partnership is part of Gensler’s greater mission to give back to the people of New York City, mentor young people that might not otherwise have access to career opportunities in STEM or design, and, in the long run, increase diversity and equity across all design fields.

One of the presenters, Technical Director Douglass Alligood, walked JCCA young people through his unconventional and non-linear route to becoming an architect. His story was relatable and genuine. He spoke about being discouraged from pursuing architecture by his teachers and dropping out of school. But he also spoke about how he was determined to become an architect — despite what his teachers said. He was so determined that learned his craft by studying by himself on the subway! He concluded by urging JCCA teens to do three things: seize opportunities, advocate for themselves, and always do work that aligns with their principles.

JCCA is thankful to all Gensler staff for sharing their stories and answering questions and for their generous offer to connect one-on-one with JCCA teens. We hope that the connection between JCCA and Gensler will continue to grow. We can’t wait to meet our future JCCA architects!