JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 300 Duval County students will be heading to work, but not to typical summer jobs.
Students will be exploring careers in professional industries like business, medicine and sports as part of the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program.
The orientation was held Monday.
"I'm going to be honest, I wasn't interested in this program because I didn't know about it at first," said Niyala Hunter, a 10th-grade student.
Hunter, 15, whose father told her about the Mayor's Summer Jobs Program, is now preparing for her first day of work, along with hundreds of other students.
"Sometimes, I can be a little shy. I'm shy when I meet new people," Hunter told News4Jax. "I'm looking forward to working on my skills and just having the opportunity to do something to help the community."
The students will be working in industries such as education, medicine, government and more. The program includes career assessment, training, a life-skills fair and 20-hour work weeks with professionals. Some of the jobs are paid.
As part of the program, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority will be giving each student a free bus pass so transportation won't be an issue.
"I worked in the secretarial area, where I was able to file, answer phones. It was new for me and brought me out of my skin," said Theresa Cornelious, a summer jobs coach.
Cornelious participated in the summer jobs program as a teenager in the 1980s. She's worked at a Fortune 500 company and now the summer jobs coach shares her experiences to help students succeed in the future as
"It's going to teach these kids as far as being organized, being more flexible, working with someone who you don't know and communicate with that individual," Cornelious said.
Hunter hopes those tools will bring her closer to becoming an architect. But she's also using the experience to explore other career opportunities.