ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground's HIRED! Apprenticeship Program is facing its busiest summer yet. With 41 teens enrolled for the summer 2012 session, the 12-
week program has doubled in size since it came to APG in 2009.

Jay McKinney, APG'S HIRED! coordinator, said he's hoping with the increased number of participants will come a larger variety of placement sites.

Typically, apprentices, ages 15 to 18, are placed in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation-affiliated facilities - like on-post gyms or child development centers - where they gain work experience and are paid a small stipend. This year, McKinney has his sights set on more non-FMWR job locations.

"I am really hoping that other APG organizations will step up and offer our youth opportunities to gain that life-changing experience," said McKinney. "APG offers a wide range of science, technology, and medical careers. To offer an apprenticeship in those fields would be invaluable for our teenagers."

McKinney said teens join the program to get a step ahead and gain job experience, not money.

"This is a way for APG organizations to invest in our children's futures. It's much larger than simply taking on a teen for a summer apprenticeship," he said. "It's giving our youth work experience that will shape their lives, broaden their resumes and give them that competitive edge after high school."

The goal is to match apprentices with organizations that reflect their career interests. Apprentices work eight-hour shifts, two days a week, assisting with basic duties that are appropriate for their age and level of experience.

McKinney said before assigning an apprentice to any non-FMWR placement site, they must have some knowledge in the career field.

In 2010, Kyle Goulden, then a Harford Technical High School senior who was enrolled in his school's heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and cooling program, was placed with the installation's Directorate of Public Works as a HIRED! apprentice.

"The program showed me that this is what I really want to do and what real life is all about," said Goulden during a 2011 interview, "I highly recommend it to students who want to work on APG."

McKinney said organizations that would like to accept apprentices must designate a mentor, who will be required to undergo one hour of training, completed at the worksite. McKinney also works closely with the mentors throughout the term.

"It is difficult for teens in this age group to find a job," McKinney said. "Usually this is their first time working. HIRED! provides them with real-world experience and allows them to observe professionals working in a field they might pursue in the future."

HIRED! is not accepting any more teens for the summer term, but FMWR eligible teens can participate in career training sessions and college tours. For info on upcoming events, visit www.apgmwr. com. To find out how to become a mentor, contact McKinney at jay.a.mckinney.
naf@mail.mil, or call 410-278-3250.