“Summer jobs are essential building blocks for young people, and SummerWorks is crucial to our city’s economy, by creating a consistent pipeline of future talent,” Mayor Fischer said yesterday, while announcing the official launch of the 2019 season alongside other community leaders.
Last season, SummerWorks staff directly placed more than 1,000 teens and young adults in jobs, and 6,200 youth overall were employed by the program’s partner employers. Momentum is already building for this summer, with many employers hiring youth through the program for the first time, including BrightSpring Health Services, FFO Homes, Heine Brothers Coffee, Messer Construction, OneWest Louisville and VisionWorks.
Jordan Hennemann, pictured above, told his story of being hired by Humana through SummerWorks and then being brought on full-time after the season had ended. “I overheard my boss (at Humana) say they had a software program they’d been trying to update for a few years and it was written in the C sharp programming language. When I heard that, I was like ‘Hey, I know C sharp’. So they sat me down with a double-wide monitor and I just got to work. By the end of the internship they offered me a full-time job based on my technical knowledge alone. I still don’t believe it today.”
The kickoff announcement was held at the Shawnee Boys & Girls Club. Siera Berry (pictured below), 17, who attends Butler Traditional, worked at the club last summer helping supervise young children. She says the experience convinced her to pursue a teaching career.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do before I started SummerWorks and then when I started working with kids, I realized that I really love this and want to teach them,” Siera said. “I read to the kids, and learned to be patient with them, it was a super experience.”
Fischer said more youth will be able to discover and pursue careers with the alignment of SummerWorks and the 14 high schools that are part of the JCPS Academies initiative. This summer, about 200 Academy students will be placed in jobs that link to their education in career sectors such as technology, healthcare, manufacturing and business services. The goal is for every student to have had a summer job experience by the time they graduate their Academy school.
“Our students gain unique opportunities through SummerWorks for relevant and hands-on experiences,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS Superintendent. “These opportunities match instruction taking place in the classroom within our Academies of Louisville structure.”
Louisville Metro Council President David James also spoke, urging his fellow elected officials and leaders to view SummerWorks as more than just a summer jobs program: “SummerWorks is building a foundation for our future. If we don’t build that foundation, our future won’t be what we want it to be.”
Toni McDowell of Heine Brothers’ Coffee, a new SummerWorks employer in 2019, talked about all of the benefits they’ve seen over the years of hiring young people and providing those learning opportunities. She encouraged leaders of other small businesses to get engaged with youth and join the SummerWorks movement.
You can see photos from the event below.