LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The City of Lawton is helping local students prepare for the workforce through its Summer Youth Internship Program.
The program started last year and allows Juniors and Seniors in Lawton Public Schools to work in one of the city's departments for the summer and make a little money over break.The students go through a traditional hiring process with interviews and also have to pass a drug and background test.
City officials said it helps develop skills and prepares them for the real world after they graduate from high school. This year the program has 9 interns.
Lawton High School Senior Lashon Chew said she used to work in the fast food industry but wanted to try something new. Chew saw poster boards about the program all over Lawton High School and decided to apply. She now works at the library and says the internship has been an excellent learning experience so far that's helping her prepare for college.
Chew said she has a passion for reading and helping others, so working at the Lawton Public Library was the perfect job for her. She said the library is always busy and gives her an opportunity to meet others.
"It's a lot of people interaction and it helps build your people skills because personally I like talking to people and so like I feel like dealing with the checking in and out books that what we get to do normally and we also deal with making them library cards we get to know their personal information so we get to know a little bit about them," said Chew.
Chew said just going through the hiring process made her feel more like an adult.
"We got our drug test done and I was like this feels like I'm one of them..I'm not different they are not treating me like a kid. I got to go through that, and interview, and a group interview," said Chew.
Human Resources Manager for the City of Lawton, Chase Massie said it's not only about the interns getting a job but making sure they're prepared for the future.
"We want them to do real work,we want them to develop these work skills so that they can put those on a resume, they can prepare for life after high school whether that is getting into college, or getting into Votech or joining the workforce right away," said Massie.
Massie said the students work for 20 hours a week and get paid just over 9 dollars an hour.
"It's not only about making a pay check but also realizing hey this is what a real paycheck is going to be like once we enter that work force," said Massie.
And Chew agrees, while the paychecks are nice and the program is a productive way to spend her summer..there's more the program offers.
"Its rewarding because you get to meet these people you get to have this experience and I'm very looking forward to coming back next year," Chew said.
The program starts at the end of the school year and last 8 to 10 weeks.
If you are interested in applying for the next year's program contact your school or the city of Lawton for more information.