Charlie Wallace demonstrates the proper way to roll a fire hose, Vicenza, Italy, July 23, 2021. After being thrown into action, fire hoses are rolled up to ensure the removal of excess water.
Charlie Wallace demonstrates the proper way to roll a fire hose, Vicenza, Italy, July 23, 2021. After being thrown into action, fire hoses are rolled up to ensure the removal of excess water. (Photo Credit: Tre'Vani Bradshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy -- Working during the summer isn’t a top priority for many teens, but for a few high schoolers stationed at Vicenza’s Caserma Ederle being hired as a paid government intern has proven to be a fruitful experience.

Vicenza’s six-week summer hire program offers teenagers an opportunity to gain varying work experience during the summer. When applying, students are given the option of selecting either a clerk or laborer position. From there, it is later revealed to them which work site they have been placed.

“I was excited to get the job,” said ninth grader Charlie Wallace, who currently works at the fire department on Caserma Del Din. "There was a lot of paperwork, so getting the [acceptance] email was a lot of relief.”

Among the several job sites offered this year were: the post office, fire and military police departments, Plans & Ops, Public Affairs Office, Transportation Office, and Central Processing Facility. After attending a commissioning briefing on the first day, the summer hires were met by their supervisors who then accompanied them to their job.

“I mean it’s a good program,” said Frank Purvis, postal operations supervisor. “It gives [teens] the work experience. It does take time to train them to do things, but in the end…we get them on board, we show them what we want them to do, and pretty much they run with it after that.”

And indeed they have. For ninth grader Kayla White, a day at the military police department initially only encompassed doing basic tasks, “the first few days I was shredding a lot of old papers…scanning, [etc.].”

Kayla White creates purchase orders for the military police department on Caserma Ederle, in Vicenza, Italy, Thursday, July 22, 2021. The military police department on Caserma Ederle is a branch of the department of emergency services.
Kayla White creates purchase orders for the military police department on Caserma Ederle, in Vicenza, Italy, Thursday, July 22, 2021. The military police department on Caserma Ederle is a branch of the department of emergency services. (Photo Credit: Tre'Vani Bradshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

However, after receiving a common access card her capabilities truly expanded, according to Stephen Edmonds, deputy director of emergency services. From filing patrol reports, making purchase orders, and plotting grid coordinates to create heat maps in order to track crime trends, White has received a backstage experience on some of the inner workings of a military police department.

On the other side of DES, Charlie Wallace’s work at the fire department on Del Din has allowed him to become well acquainted with the notorious red fire trucks.

“I’ve learned how they work, I’ve shot the hoses, [and] I’ve been in the bucket, which is really cool - you see everything on Del Din,” said Wallace.

Additionally, Wallace has been able to walk through the processes of forced entries, as well as practiced fire responses.

Meanwhile, the lively work environment at the post office has kept the summer interns occupied. “On a good day we get about two hundred pieces of mail,” said twelfth grader Jayden Reed. In addition to sorting letters, the interns worked unloading, processing, and shelving incoming parcels – all as part of ensuring that they are properly delivered. But regardless of their diversified tasks, none of the hard efforts completed by these teens have gone in vain.

Jayden Reed processes an incoming mail parcel at Caserma Ederle's post office, located in Vicenza, Italy, Monday, July 26, 2021. Processing mail parcels is an important step in their delivery.
Jayden Reed processes an incoming mail parcel at Caserma Ederle's post office, located in Vicenza, Italy, Monday, July 26, 2021. Processing mail parcels is an important step in their delivery. (Photo Credit: Tre'Vani Bradshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

“There’s a lot of work that he really helped out with,” Assistant Fire Chief Antonio Diaz III said when speaking about his intern Charlie Wallace. “It seems like small things but it’s really important that he’s done a lot of inventory. That really helps the captains a lot.”

And from the students’ perspective, working and being a part of this year’s summer hire program has undeniably been six-weeks well spent.

“It’s a really good experience. I’m happy I applied,” said Wallace.