Here’s how San Bernardino plans to engage civic-minded youth – San Bernardino Sun

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San Bernardino intends to work with school district officials to develop a program where high school students can shadow city employees and elected officials for a crash course in civics.

Pulling the curtain on city government is a golden opportunity to engage future generations of City Hall employees, appointees and decision makers, City Manager Rob Field told City Council this week.

“We offer a unique opportunity, a unique perspective, inasmuch as we are a working-class town, there are no theoretical lessons,” Field added. “It’s a great opportunity to see how things work in the real world. An opportunity that you cannot get in the school world. It is essentially a vocational training program.

“A deep immersion in the workings of government.”

All council members present on Wednesday June 1 supported the decision.

Councilor Ben Reynoso was absent from the meeting.

Although it is unclear when the framework for such a program will be designed and implemented, the idea is to bridge a gap between traditional education and post-graduation experience.

Originally, the presentation to city council on Wednesday was to create a youth civic engagement council that would serve nine months, from August to May of each school year, and engage high school juniors and seniors in a variety of city-sponsored events, community projects and other outreach efforts to introduce them to public service work.

Instead, elected officials chose to partner with the school district to achieve the same goal.

“If we want to change direction (as a city), we have to invest,” Councilor Kimberly Calvin said from the stage. “This is an opportunity to put our money where our mouths are. … How can we start investing in our young people and letting them know that we trust and believe in their ability to lead us against us who are forever hanging around and never allow this opportunity?

Whatever the program looks like, Field said, civic-minded students will benefit greatly.

“We need to start investing in the youth of this city,” Calvin said, “because (the city) is theirs.”

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