PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – One of the rites of passage for young people is getting their first summer job.

A city program is making it possible for hundreds of kids to learn workplace skills and get paid for it.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl visited four sites Tuesday where students are working in the Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program.

“To have those first experiences while you are in high school is invaluable and that’s what we wanted to make sure the program did was have real life experiences in these positions and that’s what we are seeing here this morning,” Ravenstahl said.

To date, the summer jobs program has helped more than 2,000 young people prepare for the work place.

“You always have to have a smile on your face. As soon as someone walks in you have to drop what you are doing wait on them and be welcoming and everything. So, I learned that and know that the customer is always right,” Kayla Bruni said.

One stop was at the Zone Café, which is part of the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrenceville.

“She is a wonderful tutor and mentor because she taught us how to make the majority of things on the menu. And then there’s Miss Karen who is really sweet. Everyone is really nice here. It’s just a wonderful learning experience,” Brittany Boyd said.

Funding comes from the Pittsburgh Foundation and Highmark.

“First and foremost, you are learning responsibility and learning how to work with others. In customer service. you are learning skills, not only the soft skills, but the other hard skills. I think that is so important when it comes to any job. It really builds a foundation for the future,” Highmark Senior V.P. for Community Affairs Evan Frazier said.

A total of 350 kids started on July 2 and will wrap up on Aug. 10 at 16 locations around the city.

“It’s a six-week program, and we pay them $7.25 an hour for 30 hours a week and then there’s a work readiness piece that we introduce into the each subcontractor will give to the kid for a work expiration piece for another six hours,” Lillian Reese-McGhee said.


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