Intern to APEC Delegate: Dominick’s Enterprise Journey 

“I don’t feel like a lot of people my age have a seat at the table where these choices are made so I felt honored to be [at APEC]. … [The attendees] were even excited to see a youth at the event.”

– Dominick Ramirez, Climate Career Corps Intern, KIPP SF class of 2024

During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held in San Francisco this fall, Dominick, an Enterprise for Youth participant with a passion for environmental justice, found himself sharing breakfast with world leaders. 

Meet Dominick Ramirez, a senior at KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory in the Bayview with aspirations for higher education. When Dominick isn’t in class, he serves his community and further develops professional skills as an intern with the Marie Harrison Community Foundation. Dominick’s success today can be attributed to the networking skills, internships, and professional connections he received and developed through Enterprise for Youth.

“Enterprise helped me a lot because I had to learn to communicate and work together with others.”

Opportunity found its way to Dominick in 9th grade when he decided to enroll in Enterprise for Youth. Enterprise provides job readiness training and paid internships in a variety of sectors, and Dominick chose an outdoor, nature-based internship as part of the Climate Career Corps. The Climate Career Corps is a multi-year training and workforce development program that equips youth with green skills through hands-on internships, education in ecology and climate science, and exposure to professions focused on environmental solutions. Dominick was drawn to this program because he wanted the chance to work with his hands, feeling inspired by his father who does similar work. 

“Enterprise opened my eyes to different pathways that I didn’t know existed, like environmental justice.” 

Dominick continued with Enterprise well past his freshman year of high school, completing six internships over three years. Enterprise for Youth ensured his continuous professional development by inviting youth to return for subsequent internships and ongoing training opportunities. “I really liked the Climate Career Corps so I kept on coming back each summer.” 

Dominick Ramirez in McLaren Park

Climate Career Corps internship graduation and youth-led tour at McLaren Park, July 2023

With a solid understanding of habitat restoration and the ability to collaborate on a team, Dominick was ready to seek new opportunities. This past July, he attended the Enterprise Climate Career Summit, a roundtable discussion with climate activists and professionals, where he was introduced to Arieann Harrison, founder of the Marie Harrison Community Foundation. After learning about Harrison’s impact in his community and her shared passion for environmental justice, Dominick took the initiative to reach out and set up an interview that would lead to his current position. 

Dominick at Bayspark 2023: Youth Action for Climate and Environmental Justice organized by Marie Harrison Community Foundation

Dominick’s proactive approach and commitment towards professional development through Enterprise’s programs culminated in a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to the APEC Multistakeholder Forum. Through this stunning accomplishment, Dominick learned about environmental justice efforts at the highest level from world leaders. “I don’t feel like a lot of people my age have a seat at the table where these choices are made so I felt honored to be there…they [the attendees] were even excited to see a youth at the event.” 

Dominick at the APEC Multistakeholder Forum breakfast with environmental justice leaders, Zhao Li, Noor Binti Ismail, and Phoebe Wang.

Dominick Ramirez’s journey from a freshman in high school with limited work experience to an APEC delegate is nothing short of transformational. His experience highlights the importance of Enterprise for Youth’s programs that provide pathways to opportunity and professional success for young people. Targeted support, repeated internships, and ongoing career development empower youth like Dominick with skills and network to create life-changing experiences. 

“Enterprise is like an investment in the youth, I gained communication, teamwork, and networking skills which have gone on to benefit me ever since.”

Dominick with his team at Marie Harrison Community Foundation on a toxic site tour in the Bayview district.

By Zizo Ezzat, Enterprise for Youth Team Intern; San Francisco State, class of 2024