By Rachel PonderFebruary 4, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md - The Child, Youth and School Services HIRED! program is getting ready for another busy summer season, with more than 45 students expected to enroll in the program.
Aberdeen Proving Ground employees can make a difference by volunteering to become a mentor to one or more of these teens.
The HIRED! program offers 15-18 year old students, whose families work on APG as military or civilians, the opportunity to gain real-world career experience and get paid a stipend.
The program allows teens to learn about a variety of career fields, broadens their resumes and gives them a competitive edge before graduating high school. During the summer, apprentices work eight hour shifts, two days a week, assisting with duties that are appropriate for their age and skill level.
Typically, teens in the HIRED! program are placed in FMWR facilities, like the post bowling center, or child development centers. But HIRED! coordinator Jay McKinney said his goal is to expand the number of placement sites, and place apprentices with organizations that reflect their career interests.
"APG offers a wide range of science, technology, and medical careers, these apprenticeships would provide invaluable experience for teenagers," he said. "This is an opportunity for APG organizations to invest in our children's futures."
Last summer McKinney successfully placed teens at the APG Museum, U.S. Army Signal Network Enterprise Center, the Multimedia/Visual Information Services Center and Directorate of Public Works.
"And I received positive feedback from their mentors," he said.
For example, two teens assisted acting Museum Director Ed Heasley with cataloging artifacts that will be displayed in the APG Museum, opening to the public later this year.
On-site mentor Gloria Radkiewicz of USASNEC helped Ben Xu and Eric Chau secure a temporary Common Access Card to gain access to the network.
"If you have an opportunity to make a difference, you have to seize it," Radkiewicz said in a 2012 interview. "It might help them in the future. Also, I really like people and teens, so I really wanted to help."
"They were the first teens in the APG HIRED! program to secure a temporary CAC card," McKinney said. "Hopefully now that we have gone through this process, we will be able to offer more non-MWR placements to teens."
McKinney said teens go through several interviews and prerequisite training to determine which placement sites are the best fit.
"Before assigning an apprentice to any non-FMWR site, they must have some knowledge of the career field," he explained.
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.
To find out how to become a mentor, email email@example.com or call 410-278-3250.