By Tracy Correa
Based on the success of last year’s program in Fresno, PG&E will triple its summer jobs program for teens this year as the program extends to the Bakersfield and Sacramento areas.
In addition to expanding PG&E’s Summer Jobs Program in the Fresno area this summer, the utility has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento to offer the program in these communities.
A year ago, PG&E launched the jobs program with a $200,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. The program provided paid summer jobs for 55 teens and career training for more than 150 teens. The 15-to 18-year-old students who landed jobs were from some of the neediest neighborhoods in the Fresno area and earned $1,600 during their employment.
Now, with three communities benefiting from the program, more teens will have the chance to land a summer job and earn a paycheck as well as learn the career-building skills that the Boys & Girls Clubs provides as part of the program.
(Click here to see a video about the Summer Jobs Program in Fresno.)
A building block for success
“We all remember our first jobs and how critically important they were to our future success,” said PG&E’s Ezra Garrett, vice president for community relations. “That is why we are so excited to be partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Sacramento, Fresno and Kern counties, through the PG&E Summer Jobs Program, to provide underserved youth in these challenged regions with the workforce training and experience they will need to positively contribute to their communities well into the future.”
Diane Carbray, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County, said she is proud to have taken part in the pilot and excited to see the program expand in Fresno and offered in two more communities.
Students really benefitted from the program, said Carbray. “There was a pride of ownership with that paycheck. It was a self-esteem builder.”
Rami Abunamous, now a 19-year-old college student, was one of the Fresno teens who worked last summer as part of the program. He said the experience gave him the confidence needed to obtain his current job as a sales associate at a clothing store.
“It gave me a sense of professionalism,” said Abunamous. “I actually purchased my first car with what I earned,” he added.
Maggie Cushine, resource development director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, has already been promoting the program to local teens. “What has been most interesting so far is watching the teens come in with applications and seeing how excited they are,” she said.
For teens, Cushine said, finding jobs in an economy where so many adults are also out of work is difficult. Young people are often competing for jobs with those who are older and have work experience. “And a lot of times, the schools don’t have the opportunity to teach job skills,” said Cushine.
The PG&E Summer Jobs Program is about more than providing jobs to young people. In Fresno, more than 150 teens graduated from the program that taught them about money management and how to build resumes and prepare for job interviews. This larger group of teens interviewed and competed for jobs at local businesses.
In Fresno, 11 of the 55 students placed in jobs funded by PG&E’s Summer Jobs Program, were hired by their employers after the program ended.
“None of it would have been possible without PG&E,” said Carbray. “The program wouldn’t exist and the kids would still be looking for jobs.”
Teens interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact the Boys & Girls Clubs in Fresno, Kern and Sacramento.
E-mail Tracy Correa at Tracy.Correa@pge.com.