Student Hears ‘You’re Hired’ at End of Summer Work Program

A few weeks before the school year ended, 16-year-old La’Zairia began submitting job applications to local businesses, including Kroger, Smoothie King, Target and Rue 21.

But no one called her for an interview, most likely because she had no prior work experience. So La’Zairia submitted another application, this time to Goodwill’s Summer Youth Work Program.

The paid, six-week summer work training program is for 16- to 22-year-olds who are still enrolled in high school or have recently graduated. About 80 Davidson County students participate each year. Most of the students train at Goodwill, while about 30 receive training at Kroger, which co-sponsors the program along with Goodwill and the Metropolitan Development Housing Agency of Nashville and Davidson County. Students learn about the responsibilities of having a job, including safety standards, and the rewards of earning a paycheck. Some students obtain permanent part-time employment through the program.

La’Zairia knew about Goodwill’s program because her sister participated in it, and she was excited a few days later when she was accepted. Starting in early June, the Martin Luther King Jr. High School student worked for Goodwill’s marketing and donations departments at its downtown Nashville headquarters, performing tasks such as archiving and scanning documents and delivering mail around the campus. It was her first real job.

“It gave me a sense of independence knowing I could earn my own money,” she said. “It felt good.”

Five weeks later, as the Summer Youth Work Program was about to end in mid-July, La’Zairia scored an interview at a Nashville Kroger store. When the hiring manager asked her about her work experience, La’Zairia described her duties at Goodwill. At the conclusion of the interview, the manager offered La’Zairia a cashier position.

“I was really happy,” La’Zairia said. “I’m really proud that I did it, and my parents and sister were proud that I have a permanent part-time position and will be able to buy my own things.

“I’m also glad I won’t have to fill out any more applications,” she added with a grin.

For more stories like this read the Fall 2016 edition of The Ambassador – Goodwill’s quarterly magazine which provides readers with stories of events, activities and the inspiring changes Goodwill is making in the lives of others.

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