Orlando expands youth employment program, where students can earn $14 an hour – Orlando Sentinel


Orlando teens who get a free and reduced lunch have a chance to find jobs this summer, which will include receiving a bank account, income of $14 an hour and other financial literacy training.

City officials on Tuesday announced an expansion of its summer youth employment program, which will provide internships for between 300 and 400 students in a variety of industries, including summer camps, insurance , retail and hospitality. Officials said they hoped it would teach life skills and the value of a dollar, as well as expose students to potential career paths.

Students will be paid $14 per hour for 30-hour workweeks by CareerSource Central Florida, which means companies can have interns at no cost to them, Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

“What is it,” Dyer said. “We help train the students and you benefit from this now qualified workforce.”

A previous version of the job program was specifically for students in the city’s Parramore Kidz Zone programs, but it has since been expanded citywide, for any student between the ages of 15 and 19 who is eligible for a free lunch and At a reduced price.

Willie Hobdy, 25, was once one such teenager. At age 16, he was hired as an assistant basketball coach with the city under the summer jobs program. He has since graduated from Florida A&M University, with hopes of returning to law school later this year. He said he learned from working with children as an intern that they could control their environment and stay out of trouble.

“Defending their behavior and what they do after school has been a great experience for me,” Hobdy said.

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Along with a paycheck — for many, likely their first, city officials said — students will get bank accounts, work experience for resumes, as well as financial education on budgeting and saving for life. college or a future home purchase, said Lysa Barbano, market president for VyStar Credit Union, which will train the students.

Berta Garcia, director of climbing gym Blue Swan Boulders, said her company hired two high school students from Parramore Kidz Zone a year ago, and they learned skills such as problem solving, service customer and risk management.

“What’s most important is that I think they both found a community here too,” she said.

City Commissioner Regina Hill said Orlando is looking for more companies to participate to expand opportunities for interns.

“It’s not just about small businesses; we are looking for those that could be corporate or office skills. … It can be an individual – a photographer, a videographer who might need young people to do an internship,” she said. “We want to try to match these kids to their future plans, so that when they show up for work, they can’t just see themselves at work, but 10 years later.”

Businesses can apply to participate at this link. Students can apply here.

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