On Friday, July 28, 2023, 32 high schoolers and five college students completed the Wayne County Summer Youth Employment Program and were awarded certificates during a luncheon at The Maxwell Center. This marks the second year this innovative program has offered paid work opportunities for high school and college students in Wayne County to learn valuable skills in local government, financial literacy, and workplace training.
Geniya Williams was an Office of Emergency Services intern and spoke during the luncheon. “I am forever grateful for this experience and everything I learned along the way,” said Williams. “I hope this program continues and more young people will be able to gain the same experiences I did.” Lehyssa St. Julien, an EMS intern, added, “Meeting and working alongside my fellow interns gave me hope for the future. It reinforced my belief that we as a generation have the potential to make a positive impact.”
Individuals were required to apply for the program and go through an application process where they could provide options for departments they were interested in. After being accepted, interns were placed across the County in various departments to work from June 19, 2023, through July 28, 2023. The County partnered with Wayne Community College to hold training with the interns once a week. During this weekly training, students learned how to interview, write a resume, speak in public, and budget their personal finances.
The Summer Youth Employment Program began as a goal of Commissioner Antonio Williams after he joined the Board in 2020. The Wayne County Board of Commissioners supported the program and grew the program with additional interns after the first year in hopes that young adults will get excited about serving their community through local government.
“This program is about growth,” said Commissioner Williams. “It’s about overcoming fears, learning how to interact with others, and I believe we are off to a great start. When I look at these participants, I see our future. I am proud of Wayne County, I am proud of our departments, and most importantly, I am proud of our youth.”