CYLC-CLINIC’s Immigration Legal Services Pathway Fellowship Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary

Media Contact:

Andy Briseño
Communications Associate, Community Learning Partnership (CLP) 

Oakland, Ca., – On June 12, 2024, California Youth Leadership Corps (CYLC) and Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. CLINIC celebrated their one-year anniversary of launching CYLC’s Immigration Legal Services Pathway Fellowship’s first cohort in 2023! To date, the program has graduated 41 students, with 21 fellows completing the Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL) certification through our fellowship program, which gets them one step closer to becoming accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

CLP-CYLC are proud to announce the start of our Summer 2024 Cohort as they begin COIL on June 12, 2024. Student fellows in our unique hands-on community change career pathway will take CLINIC’s COIL, , an eight-week virtual e-course, which provides an overview of immigration law and exposes student participants to the possibility of DOJ accreditation. 

Genet Areda, CYLC Program Director, oversees the CYLC-CLINIC Community-Based Immigration Legal Services Pathway and guides student fellows throughout their fellowship experience by mentoring them and working with partners to provide support and hands-on experience at DOJ accredited organizations. As Genet looks back on the past year, they celebrate the one-year anniversary of this successful career pathway: 

“I am so happy to celebrate a year of our fellowship! We have much to be proud of, with 41 students across three cohorts, 21 receiving their COIL certificates, and 5 securing employment at their field placements. We have positively impacted our students by providing them with the experiences and steps necessary for their education. Our community-based organizations have benefited from the extra help and dedication in hosting our students. Working closely with historically marginalized college students has shown us how to best support their success and expose them to the possibilities of a career in this field, while positively impacting their local communities.” said Genet Areda, CYLC Program Director.

Our Summer 2024 fellows for the career pathway will be partnered with a DOJ-accredited Community-Based Organization’s where they will engage in at least 10 hours of work-based learning. While they are enrolled in our 9-month program, CLINIC-CYLC student fellows can be awarded up to $10,000 in stipends for their participation in their work-based learning experience. Many of our student fellows have sought careers in the legal arena by applying to law schools or are currently employed in immigration legal services organizations that are DOJ accredited positions throughout the State of California.

Janae Quarles, a recent alumni of the CYLC-Fresno City College program, shares their work-based learning experience at their CBO placement, Education and Leadership Foundation in Fresno, California: “This fellowship helped me in so many ways! I got hands-on experience in a field of law that I’ve now come to love! I also got to develop close relationships with attorneys, DOJ Accredited Representatives and paralegals doing outstanding work for the immigrant community here in Fresno. I want to also highlight that this fellowship provided essential financial support and career development. Thanks to this fellowship I was able to secure a full-time position as a caseworker at my fellowship placement. I’m very grateful for the opportunity!”

Christian Espinoza, another recent graduate of the CYLC-Fresno City College program who gained invaluable work-experience at CARECEN College Legal Services, said: “The skills and knowledge I acquired from the COIL training enhanced my ability to support our legal team more effectively and with greater confidence. My ability to translate complex legal documents and facilitate clear communication between clients and attorneys helped bridge language and understanding gaps, making legal services more accessible to our clients. Additionally, by efficiently managing legal intakes and maintaining organized case files, I helped streamline our case handling processes, allowing our staff attorneys to focus on providing high-quality legal representation.”

CYLC-CLINIC are thrilled to provide accessible legal knowledge and skills to participants and at the same time, serve local immigrant communities. “This project will have a long lasting impact in our communities, it helps bridge the gap between the needs of immigrant communities and the need for immigration legal services advocates. Its beautiful to see an effort that leverages the strengths of all of our partner agencies to ensure that students are given the opportunity to be part of the change that is needed in their own communities.” said Luis Guerra, CLINIC Director of Field Engagement

On its one-year anniversary, CLINIC-CYLC, continue to strengthen their partnership with community partners. “When we started this transformational learn-and-earn career pathway a year ago, we hoped that it would create immense opportunities for historically marginalized community college students by training them to provide accessible legal services to underserved immigrant communities. And it has. Our strategic partnerships with CLINIC, selected community colleges, and DOJ-recognized community-based immigration legal services organizations has created such a robust and impactful learn-and-earn career pathway in community-based immigration legal services. We are so pleased to be working with exceptional partner organizations that share our goal of  expanding the number of well-trained advocates, practitioners, paralegals, legal assistants, and nonprofit leaders in underserved immigrant communities,” said Rosa M. García, Executive Director of the Community Learning Partnership and California Youth Leadership Corps.