BAMBERG, Germany -- As the HIRED! Program's first session enters its final weeks on Warner Barracks, mentors and apprentices are reflecting on the successes of the 12-week term.

The program, geared toward youth 15-18 years old, offers apprenticeships within the fields of morale, welfare and recreation.

Not only is the work meant to increase a youth's occupational experience, and employment opportunities, it allows apprentices to showcase their accomplishments and understanding of their field of placement.

Shay McNeil is the HIRED! program coordinator for U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg.

"The first term is in full swing, and is going very well," McNeil said. "I have seven apprentices working at the Freedom Fitness Facility, Stable Theatre, Arts and Crafts center, Outdoor Recreation, the Youth Services, and Photography center so you can see we have a diverse group this first term."

Several of the apprentices are working on a fashion show as well as a video for the MWR Community Expo on Aug. 26. The first term concludes Sept. 18, she said.

Apprentices Malcolm Sago and Julian Pollitt were paired with film producer and HIRED! volunteer Pat Patten to study video production during the summer term.

Patten said that working with children on one of her latest production projects led her to volunteering at the teen center on post.

Sago, who is interested in computers, said he had no prior experience with video production, but wanted to explore a new technological field.

Working every weekday from 1-5 p.m., Sago and Pollitt have taken on several assignments, including creating a short animated video that explains the HIRED! program.

"We used a video game called 'Little Big Planet,'" Sago said. "We [Sago and Pollitt] captured images using a capture card device and then we edited it. We did the recording live. It took us about two days to build the platform. The rest took a few weeks."

The experience was Patten's first working through a video game, and she was impressed by her apprentices' skills. The short film will be accessible on a Web site in the coming weeks.

"They're going to compile everything," Patten said. "They'll have a portfolio of everything they've done along with the final project and presentation."

The video production equipment Patten is using to teach her apprentices is first class, she said, and will continue to be accessible in the teen center.

"Malcolm has figured out some really difficult things we were faced with," she said.

A valuable aspect of HIRED! is its exploratory basis. Apprentices are offered the chance to discern whether a certain career may be enjoyable or suit them, without the pressure of having to be experts. The expectation is one of learning and discovery.

Elizabeth Millner originally applied for an apprenticeship in marketing, but with the guidance of MWR staff, discovered an enthusiasm for integrating photography and fashion.

She was able to explore her interests under her mentor, photographer Breanna Eperson.

Eperson runs the photography studio on post and was interested in taking on an apprentice. Over her 12 weeks with Millner, Eperson created several projects in the fields of editing and enhancing photos, as well as delving into the fashion world.

Mentors devise final projects for their apprentices to work towards throughout the term.

"We came up with the Community Expo fashion show as Elizabeth's final project," Eperson said. "Business at the photography center is always slower in the summer months, but she was able to learn a lot about photography and editing with programs like [Adobe]Photoshop."

The fashion show will be a collaborative production.

"With the help of other apprentices I've been able to include modeling, marketing and video in my final project," Millner said.

Student Ozkan Demircan was paired with mentor Brandi Crist as an Outdoor Recreation apprentice.

"I knew I wanted to do something with ODR over the summer," Demircan said. "During the school year, I do career practicum there, but it's only part-time, about one hour a week."

Demircan's final project is creating an advertising pamphlet displaying some of the sports and activities the ODR offers.

He will also be assisting with ODR's move to its new location next to the Consolidated Mailroom at the end of the month.

Other apprentices in the summer session term include Treyvon Fayson at the Freedom Fitness Facility, Rashaad Hicks Jackson in Arts and Crafts and Anthony Lestochi at the Stable Theater.

Before receiving an interview, potential apprentices must acquire six pre-requisite courses. Though this may sound daunting, the organizers of HIRED! have set up a system of "training" days which can accommodate the fulfillment of all pre-requisites.

"Youth will then have to go through an interview process with their preferred placement sites and a parent or guardian will need to go through a mini-orientation about the program before youth can be officially placed," McNeil said.

Interested participants must complete all required steps to be considered for an apprenticeship.

"The educational incentives available are a cash award starting at $500 per term," McNeil said. "The cash award goes up to $625 after completing a third term and $750 if they complete a 5th term."

Teenagers 17 years of age and older can enroll in the Boys and Girls Club of America Club Service program and earn an additional educational stipend.

"Youth that are interested in participating must come to one of the required pre-requisite training dates," McNeil said.

The second term will begin Sept. 8 and applications are due by Aug. 21.

A training day is available Aug. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16