LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thousands of Louisville teens are employed this summer thanks in part to a community partnership called SummerWorks.
Led by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the program introduces youth to potential career paths by exposing people ages 16 to 21 to real work experiences.
"You've heard me talk for three plus years now about the transformational opportunity or aspect of a summer job and what it means to folks when they get that first job," said Mayor Fischer during a celebration at the Boys and Girls Club in Shawnee Friday.
In the four years that the SummerWorks program has been in place, the number of youngsters placed with summer jobs has grown from 200 to 2,000. The upward trend continues to benefit many non-profits, including the Shawnee Boys and Girls Club.
While the center offers plenty of activities to keep youngsters occupied this summer, it's also employing 15 young adults through the SummerWorks program.
Jessica Grady, 16, is among the students working this summer at the Shawnee Boys and Girls Club.
"I go with my set age group and we rotate through different stations like education, or we'll go outside or gym," said Grady, a Seneca High School student.
Through the program, Grady and fellow SummerWorks participants will fulfill a seven week, 30-hour per week commitment with nonprofit and public agencies.
"It's a good opportunity to get your first job and to interact with other kids instead of sitting in the house all day," said Angel Thomas, a 17-year-old also working at the Shawnee Boys and Girls Club.
With more than $470,000 donated toward employing the youth workforce this year alone, SummerWorks leaders urged students take full advantage of the program by learning both work and life skills along the way.
"This is not just a job," said Mayor Fischer.
For Morgan Newton, 19, SummerWorks has provided life lessons.
"It's learning how to communicate with coworkers," began Newton, "you know, how you present yourself, how you speak to other people."
"I'm glad that I went through summer works because this is making my summer better," said Grady.
To learn more about SummerWorks, click here.
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