Just Graduated? Move to Washington!


By Raffi N. Karakashian esq.

If you’re a qualified recent graduate, the ANCA is here to help you find a job. Sounds too good to be true?

For those interested in public policy, government, or the media – and who are open to a move to Washington, DC – the ANCA’s Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program (CGP) is a great place to start. Established in 2003, the CGP has helped young people launch their careers by offering qualified recent college graduates with career-track job placement assistance in the nation’s capital.

The CGP has three main components – three months of free housing at the ANCA Martha Aramian Armenian Cultural Center, a series of six enrichment seminars, and a robust mentorship program.

A move to a new city and the search for employment is itself a full time job. There’s little time to scope out safe, clean living conditions, and perhaps even less money to pay the rent to live there, even on a short term basis. That’s why the three months of free housing can play such an essential role – removing the worry of housing expenses for the first three months and allowing the CGP Fellows to focus on what’s most important – finding a job.

Every CGP Session (January and September each year) starts with a robust two week series of enrichment seminars that cover everything from resume and cover letter preparation to interviewing and networking skills. There are primers on professionalism and advice about life in DC. Each seminar is provided by an early-career professional who has mastered those skills through real world experience, many of whom are successful alumni of the CGP. All of them are presented in a nurturing, friendly environment with plenty of follow-up to ensure that Fellows have the needed resources to put their best foot forward in the job search front.

To build on all these skills, Fellows are assigned a mentor who can offer ongoing guidance on the job search efforts and who make sure that Fellows stay on track. Mentors have all gone through this process before and know how challenging a job search can be. They are cheerleaders when then need to be, and offer sound, solid guidance when warranted – with the single goal of ensuring career path success.

The program is run through the gracious assistance and volunteer efforts of the Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee – a talented group of alumni who understand how Washington works and have a strong sense of “paying it forward.”

The Capital Gateway Program is named after Hovig Apo Saghdejian, a 23-year old youth leader and community activist from Fresno, California, who lost his life in a 2004 tragic car accident. His family established the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund in his memory. These funds are held in perpetuity, with all income being used to finance the participation of young Armenian Americans in the Capital Gateway Program. Housing is provided in memory of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian of Providence, Rhode Island, whose family has supported a wide variety of ANCA initiatives and is committed to helping our youth pursue their careers and dreams in the nation’s capital.

Since 2003, well over 100 Fellows have come to DC through the CGP. The Fall 2015 Session is quickly filling up – with the application deadline set for July 15th. Now is the time to explore this program. For individuals still in school, the CGP offers a robust internship and externship component through which students can get valuable internship experience at the ANCA or leverage college internship opportunities in DC with programs like UCDC.

Watch and hear what CGP alumni, DC public policy professionals, and even Members of Congress say about the program.

Consider submitting your application today, before the July 15th deadline, or sharing this news with recent graduates who might benefit from this program.

The ANCA looks forward to answering any and all questions, and welcoming qualified Capital Gateway Program Fellows to DC this Fall. Apply today!

Raffi Karakashian is Legislative Affairs Director of the Armenian National Committee of America and runs the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program.

Photo: ANCA Legislative Director Raffi Karakashian, Esq. with USC Armenian Students Association members last November. Karakashian runs the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program.