WIESBADEN, Germany - A little more than 40 community youths, ages 18-23, stood tall in the Tony Bass Auditorium June 30 with their right arms raised to utter the oath of office to begin working as federal employees in this year's Summer Hire Program.

"I welcome you," said Chris Macri, director of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Directorate of Human Resources, "on behalf of the garrison. You'll be supporting the community by striving to do the best job that you can. … This experience will look good on your resumes as you go on to look for jobs in the future.

"This isn't school, but I do expect you to learn," Macri added, advising the young people to use their time wisely. "Work hard and have a fun and safe summer."

Several garrison officials provided the Summer Hires with workplace guidance before Rodney Hargus, operations officer for the garrison's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, explained their responsibilities and the oath they would soon be swearing to officially mark their entrance to the federal workforce.

"This is a paying job -- one that you can be terminated from. … You are on the clock," Hargus said, instructing his listeners to "dress like professionals and to act like professionals. … Cultural awareness is important to good customer satisfaction. … Choose to have a positive attitude -- it helps everybody. Treat others the way you want be treated."

"Your responsibility as an employee is to follow Equal Employment Opportunity laws and statutes," said Ron Vitiello, garrison EEO officer. "EEO is the law. It prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex, national origin or religion."

Vitiello asked the novice employees to treat each other with respect. "Teamwork is the key -- work together. You as an individual can make a difference in the federal workplace."

Safety was also a major focus point during the Summer Hire orientation.

"It's a good idea to leave the skateboards and in-line skates at home -- they're not part of your work equipment," said Roland Geib of the garrison's Safety Office. If youths ride a bicycle to work they must wear a helmet, he added.

Telling the youths to always follow all safety requirements and to ask questions if they are unsure about how to perform a task or work with certain equipment, he explained that "if you believe in good faith that the job you are being asked to perform is dangerous to your safety or health -- speak up. If you have an accident, then please notify your supervisor immediately."

The Summer Hire Program, which offers young people a chance to earn a salary and gain work experience in a range of jobs throughout the community, runs this year from June 30 to Aug. 8.

All employees should also make sure to stay hydrated when working outside during the summer months, Geib said. "Use the buddy system. If you recognize that someone is suffering from the heat, notify the supervisor."