JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

With an aim to bolster employment rates and prospects for area youth, the United Way kicked off its 2014 Summer Youth Employment Program.

Six-week paid internships at top organizations are offering 140 local students the opportunity to acquire high-demand skills, learn about managing their paycheck, gain access to mentors and coaches, and build their resume.

The mayor helped kick off the United Way of Northeast Florida's Summer Youth Employment Program - funded through a $100,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase.

"Understanding the value of a dollar, putting money in your pocket, really give them an opportunity to learn in the private sector is so important and these young people will have an opportunity to do that," said Mayor Alvin Brown.

It's a very competitive paid internship program; 140 students were chosen to participate this year.

News4Jax spoke with two students who were in the program last year and are also participating this year.

"It actually has changed my life quite dramatically. You know, I was able to work at UNF last summer work on the college campus with top professors, which was an incredible experience," said Roderick Pearson.

"You also learn good networking skills, I also like the one-on-one attention you got with employees. If you did have any questions they were sure to answer," said Michaela Walker.

Students will learn interview skills, how to make a resume, and how to understand their paycheck and personal finances.