City on a Hill recently celebrated the conclusion of its summer Youth Employment Program, which provided jobs for nine 14- to 18-year olds from the organization’s youth programs.
“It’s just been amazing to me to see them grow into their roles, moving from being just youth trainees to being real employees who have developed a serious work ethic and commitment to their jobs,” said Youth Center Manager Kelly Scroggins.
In March, City on a Hill announced six to nine job openings for the summer, and 16 youths showed up to the first informational meeting. In May, after distributing fliers to qualified students, the organization offered workshops on professionalism, communication, attitude and enthusiasm, and critical thinking and problem solving.
Youth Development Manager Lisa Boughton oversees the beginning stages of the youth employment program. Preparing students for interviews is her favorite part of the job, “just to see that excitement, that nervousness, to see them ironing their clothes on our ping-pong tables, coaching each other. Some of the things they say could be on ‘Kids Say the Darnedest Things,’” Boughton said.
The interns worked approximately 20 hours per week for 10 to 12 weeks, and earned $7.25 per hour.
“My new job at Impact in Brookfield I actually got while working at City on a Hill,” said Treshon Hill, 18. “I was volunteering and went on to a place to pick up a donation, and the manager liked my work, so now I’m doing bigger and better things for myself, and it’s all thanks to City on a Hill.”
In June, the students took field trips to the U.S. Social Security Administration, Milwaukee County Courthouse, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Milwaukee Academy of Science and Educators Credit Union. During the field trips, youth took major steps toward independence, obtaining Social Security cards, birth certificates and work permits.
Sencerea Vanlandingham, 18, worked as an office administration trainee this summer after participating in youth programs for three or four years. “I like it. I think it’s taught me a lot of life skills and a lot of skills that I could use to go to a different job or just for everyday life.”
From June to August, the interns attended workshops on workplace safety, financial goals, the importance of credit, financial accountability and networking. The program concluded with exit interviews and an achievement celebration, where the young employees received gifts, tokens of the staff’s gratitude for their work.
“City on a Hill is a great place, and they have a lot of connections. …They want to help people, so if you need help, want help, your life can be changed here, like mine was,” said Princess Vaulx, 16.