HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Twenty-nine students were successfully placed with HIRED!, a teen-apprenticeship program recently introduced to the Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg community that provides paid apprenticeships for 15- to 18-year-olds.

Similar to a summer job, teens are employed for 12 consecutive weeks during their vacation with a 15-hour work week and a $500 stipend.

"I wanted to do something which would help in the future," said Nico Hunter, an apprentice at Heidelberg's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Marketing office, who is kept busy with Web updates, cutting, laminating and printing.

"It's not laid back, but it's not stressful," said the 17-year-old about his job. "Everybody's nice and the work is never boring."

Hired! has recruited FMWR partner organizations as placement sites for youth wishing to gather useful work experience. Teens have been placed in the local area with MWR; Army Community Service; Soldier and Community Recreation; Business Operations; Child, Youth and School Services; and the Schwetzingen Data Center.

"It's a good program," said marketing assistant Danielle Jackson, who has been working with Hunter. "I'm all for having kids working for the summer - trying to make their own money and not laying around the house watching TV."

Yet not only apprentices benefit from Hired! "It is good for the community in the long run to have more task-oriented kids," Jackson said, adding that teens partaking in the program have the chance to do positive work in the district while also training themselves for the future.

"(Hired!) will benefit the community in one aspect, but more so the apprentice," said Gia Oney, marketing specialist for Heidelberg. "It's an opportunity for that kid to learn about different opportunities available in the community, to better him or herself before they head off to college or enter the workforce."

Hired! Is also a great way for short-staffed organizations to get some extra hands, according to Oney who is responsible for Hunter.

"Nico's a good kid," Oney said. "We're expecting a lot out of him, and we hope that he sticks with us throughout the school year."

Unlike a typical summer job, the Hired! program can be extended to the school year, giving apprentices an opportunity to work several hours a day following their high school classes.

To secure apprenticeships, candidates must achieve and maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher before completing a video-taped mock interview, pre-assessment and interviews with the facility managers.

Depending on the skills and interest teens show in these interviews, they are placed with an appropriate organization under the direct supervision of a designated on-site mentor who is responsible for tutoring their individual apprentices in the given field of work, according to Anne Anderson, the Hired! program coordinator.

"I very much value the mission of the Hired! program," Anderson said.

Along with the endless learning possibilities, Hired! also boosts apprentices academically, with credits awarded to juniors and seniors through the Heidelberg High School career practicum and an increase in scholarship chances brought about by the ambition shown by apprentices through taking part in Hired!

"I would do (Hired!) again," Hunter said. "It's a lot of fun, it's not too many hours, and it's still a good experience."

(Editor's Note: ZoAf" H. Todd was a summer intern for the USAG Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg newspaper, the Herald Post.)

Page last updated Tue August 18th, 2009 at 09:10