575 students get work experience

Summer Youth Employment Program concludes

Kenneth Jones, a senior at Ed White High School, completes the city's Summer Youth Employment Program for the second straight year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – School is almost back in session, and some students will start their senior year off with work experience under their belt.

The city's Summer Youth Employment Program has come to a close, and after a few weeks of working at corporations around Jacksonville, students who were a part of it say they've learned a lot.

"I thought it was just a first, you know, just get some money in your pocket, but when I finally got a job I realized like this is kind of a fun job. Because my job you get to work with kids," said Kenneth Jones, a senior at Ed White High School.

This was Jones' second year in the program, this time working at a community center on the Westside.

"We have a game room, a basketball league that we started," he said.

The program provides Jacksonville youth real work experience to get an understanding of the work environment, employer expectations and personal responsibility.

It is funded through a $100,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase.

This year, 575 students participated, and the number of private sector companies that participated tripled compared to 2013.

First Coast High School senior Ancuria Gadsden worked at the Regency Library this summer. It may not have been her dream job, but that was a lesson in itself.

"It's going to help me learn to adapt to new places instead of being in my comfort zone, stepping out of it," Gadsden said.

The summer jobs program is competitive and offered to Duval County students between the ages of 16 and 21. Participants must apply and be selected.

To learn more about the program, visit www.coj.net/summerjobs. Businesses interested in participating can send an email to MayorsSummerJobs@coj.net.

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