Durham youth head to summer work experiences

June 20, 2018
The Durham YouthWork Internship Program hosts three days of orientation and training for youth before they head to summer internships.

Nearly 180 Durham youth ages 14-24 headed to six-week paid summer internships in mid-June thanks to the Durham YouthWork Internship Program, which exposes young people to work experiences, occupations and industries that prepare them for careers.

A three-day orientation and work skills training at Durham Technical Community College kicked off the internship program, providing knowledge and skills that prepared them to work in nearly 40 local organizations – businesses, nonprofits and government agencies.

“Durham’s future workforce is here today,” said Andre Pettigrew, director of the City of Durham’s Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), in his opening remarks. “This is one of the most exciting things I get to do. The first job I ever got was through a program like this. It was the first time I got a paycheck, which was significant.”

Durham Tech President Dr. William Ingram welcomed the young people to his campus and reminded them of the $1,000 ConnectFunds Scholarship Durham Tech offers Durham Public Schools graduates who start their post-secondary education at Durham Tech.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said the young people’s success in the workplace will help create a stronger future for Durham.

“Durham is prospering tremendously, but 20% of our people are not prospering,” Schewel said. “Many of these are people of color. We are counting on you to help change that.” He urged the youth to gain the skills and work habits they need to be successful in work and to begin saving a portion of what they earn this summer to start building their financial future.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield spoke to the youth about the importance of school and work experiences to prepare them for the future.

YouthWork is a program of OEWD offered in collaboration with Made in Durham and its workforce development partners – Durham County, Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College and local employers. It is part of an expanding continuum of work-based learning activities partners are designing to prepare all Durham youth for career success and create a strong local talent pipeline.

For more information, visit https://durhamnc.gov/598/Durham-Youthwork-Internship-Program or contact James Dickens, senior employment coordinator, who manages the program, at 919-560-4965, ext. 1521 or james.dickens@durhamnc.gov.

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Made in Durham is a community partnership of educators, business, government, youth-serving nonprofits and young people mobilized around a shared vision that all of Durham’s youth will complete high school and a post-secondary credential and begin a rewarding career by the age of 25.
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