CGP Advisory Committee Leads Job Search Seminars; Professional Networking Opportunities for Innovative Program

May 7, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Increasing individual mentorship opportunities and providing a broader range of job search resources have been top priorities for the recently established Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Capital Gateway Program Advisory Committee, working with program fellows to advance their career goals in Washington, DC’s government and public policy sector.

Capital Gateway Program (ANCA CGP) Alumni Mike Gedjeyan, Dan Stepanian-Bennett, Yelena Allakhverdov and Arbi Vartan worked with Program Director Raffi Karakashian in developing the highly personalized mentorship program for CGP fellows, pairing up the individuals with young professionals active in their public policy fields of interest. The CGP Advisory Committee has already implemented a targeted lecture series on enhancing job search skills for program participants, with special focus on improving cover letter and resume writing skills, interview techniques, maximizing networking opportunities and a specialized self-awareness workshop to help identify career interests.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the Gateway Program helps applicants attain exciting internships and challenging full-time public policy jobs in the nation’s capital. Qualified applicants, once accepted, are provided three months of free housing in downtown Washington, DC, job search training and assistance, the full use of ANCA facilities, and extensive staff support. To date, over seventy fellows have gone through the program and secured positions in dozens of Congressional offices, as well as esteemed media and political institutions such as Congressional Quarterly, the US Chamber of Commerce, Export-Import Bank (EXIM), SRCP Media and the World Bank.

“We are thrilled to have the expert assistance of our Capital Gateway Program alumni – Mike, Dan, Yelena and Arbi – in spearheading this Advisory Committee and the generous support of all our local Armenian American professionals in assisting our program fellows to explore public policy careers here in Washington,” said Program Director Raffi Karakashian. “Their insights and commitment to sharing their personal experiences and advice with our program participants are a key component to the expansion and success of this program.”

The ANCA Capital Gateway Program currently includes the participation of six recent university graduates from across the U.S. including fellows Avak Kahramanian and Nareg Sagherian from Michigan; Alex Der Alexanian and Vana Kouyoumji from California; Aren Ghazarian, from Massachusetts and Chelsea Bissell from Montana. Each has worked with Karakashian to secure internships on Capitol Hill or at local public policy venues as they pursue their job search goals.

“As a program alumnus, it has been great working with the CGP fellows and expanding key components of this ground-breaking effort to help young Armenian Americans get started in their public policy careers,” said Advisory Committee leader Gedjeyan. “Starting out fresh out of college, in a new city and a tough economy is never easy. That’s why the active assistance of Armenian American professionals is so essential to provide the first-hand insights and open the critical doors necessary for launching new careers.”

Vartan concurred, noting that “One of the most difficult parts of starting a career in Washington, DC is getting one’s foot in the door. Not only does the Capital Gateway Program do this, but it also provides strategic tools and individually-tailored guidance that each fellow can then leverage to find their ideal career. If you are a young professional considering a job in Washington, DC, this Program was made for you.”

Established through a generous donation from the Cafesjian Family Foundation, the Capital Gateway Program, over the years, has benefited tremendously from the generosity of donors committed to creating public service opportunities for young Armenian Americans. The leading financial contributor to the Program has been the family of Hovig Apo Saghdejian, a 23-year old youth leader and community activist from Fresno, California, who lost his life in 2004 in a tragic car accident. His family established the Hovig Apo Saghdejian Memorial Fund in his memory. Substantial support has also been provided by longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO).

Applications for the Capital Gateway Program are reviewed on a rolling basis. Opportunities are currently available for Fall, 2010. For more information about the Capital Gateway Program or to apply, contact Program Director Raffi Karakashian at (202) 775-1918 or


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
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