This week it was my privilege to welcome some of Shelby County’s best and brightest young people for the first day of our 2021 Mayor's Summer Work Experience program.
It’s an opportunity for participants to work a paying summer job and learn about Shelby County Government.
They come to the county after what has undoubtedly been a tough year.
That 2020 is repeatedly been referred to as a year like no other is not an understatement. It was the second year for our summer work program, but we were still able to bring in young people 18-24 while observing what were then newly created coronavirus precautions and protocols.
In 2019, our first year, we had more than 200 Summer Work Experience participants. We deliberately scaled back for 2020 because of the coronavirus. This year we increased the number to more than 30, as we move away from COVID-19 restrictions.
2019 Mayor's Summer Work Experience
This has been a hard year for everyone, including our work program participants.
Many have seen their lives disrupted and routines upended. Some have missed in-person school, proms, graduations, parties, and gatherings with family and friends.
Perhaps they’ve battled the virus themselves. Or they’ve seen loved ones fall ill. Some may have had a loved one who didn’t survive.
While we hope we’re on the other side of this, the truth is that many in our community are still feeling the pains of the pandemic. In Shelby County Government our work is more important than ever.
Over the course of the summer the young people in our program will play a vital role in the services we provide, our programs, and critical operations within County Government.
This is a paying summer job. They’ll make $12 an hour and put in a more than 30-hour work week. And they will work. It's a real job. My team will make sure that they all have the high quality professional experience that they deserve.
They'll be placed in all kinds of workplaces in County Government and with our local partner, the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South. They'll acquire new skills, gain financial independence and grow their professional network. In addition, they will participate in weekly professional development sessions.
But I also hope that they make new friends, have a lot of fun, and make this a summer to remember.
I’m so pleased to have them here and I look forward to seeing their growth over the weeks to come.
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