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Melinda Harden, center, helps Sanoe Marsh, left, and Makayla Lewis, right, with a fall coloring project at the Aberdeen Area Youth Center. Harden is currently working mornings at the Aberdeen Area Youth Center as part of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's HIRED! program introduced to the Aberdeen Proving Ground community this year. The HIRED! program provides paid apprenticeships for 15 to 18 year olds.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A sophomore home school student is gaining experience supervising children by working mornings at the Aberdeen Area Youth Center's technology lab.

Melinda Harden, 15, is one of seven teens participating in the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's HIRED! program introduced to the Aberdeen Proving Ground community this year. The HIRED! program provides paid apprenticeships for 15 to 18 year olds.

"I saw an article in the APG News about the HIRED! program, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to gain some work experience," she said.

Harden said that during the HIRED! program orientation, she likes working with computers and has had experience working at her church's nursery.

"I was assigned to work in the technology lab at the Aberdeen Area Youth Center," she said. "I love being around children so I think that being assigned to the tech lab at the Youth Center worked out well for me."

Harden said that she helps the children with computer questions and has led group activities.
She added that she helps around the center whenever she is needed.

"I have enjoyed working with the children and the staff, they are very helpful and friendly," she said.

Harden is at the center before school from 6 to 9 a.m., and then works on her school work.

Harden said that she would recommend the program to others because it has given her a chance to learn more about childcare, and it has given her work experience.

"I would like to participate in the HIRED! program again, perhaps at another job site so I could gain experience in a different area," she said.

Charles Novak, the youth center's tech lab specialist and Harden's on-site mentor, said that he appreciates the work that she has done at the Youth Center.

"Melinda is doing a great job, and she goes beyond what is expected of her. She has helped me out a lot in the tech lab and also around the youth center," he said.

"I think that the HIRED! program is a good idea for young adults. It gives them a chance to gain experience before they go out in the workforce and lets them try different careers," Novak said. "It also gives them a chance to learn how to interact with different people."

Lucinda McDaniel, Youth Services program assistant, added that she has also enjoyed working with Harden.

"Melinda is always willing to help out whenever she can," she said. "She is a good sport."

About HIRED!
The HIRED! program offers a variety of job placements in FMWR facilities for teens of military and government civilians assigned to APG. To secure apprenticeships, candidates must achieve and maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher before completing a pre-assessment and interviews with facility managers. Depending on the skills and interest teen show in these interviews, they are placed with an appropriate organization under the direct supervision of a designed on-site mentor who is responsible for tutoring their individual apprentices.

For more information about the HIRED! program contact Jay McKinney, APG HIRED! coordinator, 410-278-3250. McKinney is now signing up teens for the next semester which begins Nov. 30.

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