JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The summertime is a great opportunity for kids to build relationships with professionals in the community and gain workplace skills.

Mayor Alvin Brown congratulated students Friday for working hard this summer in jobs with the city of Jacksonville and other local businesses.

Brown's summer jobs program reaches nearly 200 high school students in the community. This is the second part of this summer's job program. It started June 24.

Participants worked with organizations such as the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, JEA and the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Angelea Hires, of JEA human resources, said she mentored a student who now wants to pursue a career in her field.

"That particular person shared with me the aspect of human resources they saw was not what they had expected or what they had heard," Hires said. "So this is a whole new venture for them."

Hires said the program helps create a positive work experience, provide exposure to potential career fields and help teach business etiquette.

This was many participants' first job and even their first pay check.

"I run the gym. Sometimes I'm at the front desk, sometimes I'm helping with arts and crafts, the game room, basically monitoring kids," said Marquez White, who worked at a community center.

The mayor said he wants this program to give students work experience so they are prepared for the future.

"So when they go off to college they know the value of a dollar, that they know at the end of a day it's having that work experience," Brown said.

The program ends Aug. 9.