Hundreds of Philly students trade lazy days for work experience, pay in summer jobs program

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The summer is no vacation for hundreds of Philadelphia school students. They're spending much of their July and August earning money and gaining job experience through the School District's summer internship program.

About 200 students are working part-time summer jobs coordinated through the district's Career and Technical Education office, in fields including nursing, building trades, auto repair and marketing. Students are paid about $15 an hour through an arrangement with the Philadelphia Youth Network. The students can earn around $1000 each, before the internships end on August 26.

"Some people go and get jobs at like a McDonald’s and get paid for the most basic stuff, like just making a sandwich," said Malan Jones, who will be a junior at Abraham Lincoln High School. "I wanted to go out and learn actual business skills like how to run my business, how to work with a team, how to manage a team, stuff like that."

Jones is enrolled in a sports marketing program, where he is learning business communication skills. "So far we've worked with creating something like a signature line, proper email etiquette, and we also worked on creating things like a professional resume and making a cover letter for our resume," he told KYW Newsradio.

It’s hardly a leisurely summer for Isaac Williams, a junior at A. Philip Randolph Technical High School. "I'm currently working on heavy sanitation vehicles which means I work on trash trucks. And I also work on highway construction vehicles," Williams said.

"If you're not a person that enjoys hard labor work, or you don’t like working hard, then I can say this is not for you.  For me, the work experience is very good."

Wilneliz "Liz" Rivera, a senior at Jules E. Mastbaum High School, has been working at the Ronald McDonald House for facilities management firm Elliott-Lewis. She's been painting, caulking, and preparing renovated guest rooms for families with seriously ill children.

"The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot, such as construction, electrical and also some plumbing," Rivera said. "This aligns with my career goals because I want to become an electrical engineer."

"These students get to take those electrical, carpentry and plumbing skills and use them in the real world," said Elliott-Lewis human resources administrator Mary Rose Pinter. Elliott-Lewis is employing seven students this summer. The firm is paying students directly, instead of through PYN.

"We recognize that as a large business here in Philadelphia," said Pinter, "it's our responsibility to make sure opportunities are brought to students because they are the future of the city."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio