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Teen work program needs local employers
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Alcovy High School senior DeMichael Reid wants to one day own and manage his own auto repair shop, and he’s getting a jump start on his dream by interning at a local business, a trend that’s becoming ever more popular for high school students.

Reid is interning four afternoons a week at 3 Face Racing Automotive Services in Oxford through the Workforce Investment Act, a program that helps adults and youth alike find employment in their fields of interest, according to Rima Sullivan, a program specialist with the workforce investment program.

While Reid participates in the after-school youth program, the annual summer job program is also getting ready to start up, according to Bea Jackson, who is a local coordinator for the program.

The summer program provides paid scholarships for low-income students so they can work at local businesses and gain valuable experience needed to give them a leg up on their college career or a full-time job after graduation.
Jackson said she is also looking for employers in a variety of fields to offer job opportunities, and she needs about 25 jobs total. The internship is paid for, so the businesses don’t have to pay wages, but they do have to provide an orientation, supervision, 30 hours of work per week and a safe working environment. The students can work flexible hours to meet the businesses’ needs.

Jackson and others are helping the students prepare for the experience by teaching work readiness workshops on Saturdays leading up to summer.

“We have to realize that for most of these children, this is their first time in the workforce. We like for kids to have meaningful jobs and work in careers they aspire to work in in the future,” said Jackson, who noted she has a couple of students working at Newton Medical Center after school currently. “They’re working in the neonatal center and in the women’s and radiology departments shadowing, doings hands on work and getting experience.”

As for Reid, he’s also working hard in school as he’s currently dual-enrolled in the automotive service program at Georgia Piedmont Technical College through the Newton College and Career Academy. Reid plans to attend the University of West Georgia after graduation.

For more information about how to participate in the summer program, contact Jackson at 770-786-4002 or or call Sullivan at 706-369-5703. The Workforce Investment Act also offer services for adults or dislocated workers; contact Sullivan for more on those programs.