SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Young people in Springfield are getting a taste of adult life this summer.
Students listened to speeches by the mayor, state representatives, and the CEO of the New England Farm Workers’ Council. They all had the same message for the kids: work hard, be professional, and be on time.
Three-hundred and fifteen Springfield residents between the ages of 14 and 21-years-old were awarded summer jobs from 76 different employers as part of the New England Farm Workers’ Council’s YouthWorks summer program.
“First of all it gets them off the streets and it really teaches them responsibility and gets them ready for the workforce,” said the programs coordinator, Hayley King.
The students will work 25 hours a week for six weeks at different businesses around Springfield.
Every student accepted to the program is guaranteed a job and are paid $11.50 an hour through funding provided by the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
More than one thousand people applied this year and the people who were accepted were chosen from a lottery system.The students had to meet certain qualifications in order to be eligible to apply. Aviance Lounds, a student employed in the YouthWorks program, said she is excited that she was able to get a job.
“Out of like three applications, all of them, dead”, Lounds said. “This one was like three’s a charm, so I was very excited.”
No matter where the student is placed, they will all learn valuable life skills. Ezekiel Cardona is working at the YMCA and wants to work on his time management.
“This helps you with a lot of responsibility of where to be, being there early, or going there on time. That’s one of the main things I hope to gain”, Cardona said.
Their kickoff event at the Biergarten in Springfield ended with lunch and dessert. The students will start working on July 5.