BAKERSFIELD – About 300 teenagers will get to learn vital career-building skills and 50 of them will have paid jobs this summer thanks to the expansion of the PG&E Summer Jobs Program into Kern County that was announced today (March 27).
In partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, the program is envisioned as a stepping stone to the future for the young people involved and a boost to the economic vitality of the area.
Ezra Garrett, PG&E’s vice president of community relations, said the company is donating $200,000 to make the program happen in Kern County.
“Many of us remember the pride that came with our first job, and I’m very proud that PG&E is a part of this program,” said Garrett, who is also PG&E’s chief sustainability officer. “We truly believe that for PG&E to prosper, the communities we serve need to prosper as well. So many communities are struggling with high unemployment and a lack of job training for youth. This partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs helps meet those needs.”
300 get skills, 50 get jobs
The Summer Jobs Program will provide more than 300 youth from Kern County with eight-week “Career Launch” classes where they will learn more about developing plans for their lives and choosing a career. The classes will be based on nationally sponsored Boys & Girls Club programs that offer comprehensive career exploration, financial literacy, and awareness of service-learning in stewardship to the community.
Students that complete the eight-week program will be offered a chance to interview for one of 50 summer jobs at local businesses, with salary and other benefits fully funded by PG&E Along with their pay for the jobs, students will receive stipends to help purchase any clothing needed, as well as bus tokens for transportation.
PG&E first offered its Summer Jobs Program last summer in Fresno. This year, the company said it would expand the Fresno program and also establish the program in Bakersfield and Sacramento. A similar event to the one in Bakersfield was held yesterday in Fresno.
U.S. Rep Kevin McCarthy said the program “will help our local young people develop important professional skills and obtain critical on-the-job experience that will lead to employment opportunities with local non-profits and small businesses in our communities.”
He added, “I applaud PG&E’s partnership with the Kern County Boys & Girls Club. As a former small business owner, I know that the backbone of strong communities are strong local economies, and programs like this help ensure our students are prepared and qualified to succeed in the local workforce after finishing school. I applaud this important investment in the future of Kern County.”
PG&E’s community involvement
At the event, teen-ager Jose Ruiz talked about the lessons he has learned at the Boys & Girls Club and spoke of his anticipation of learning career skills this summer.
Jason Cohen, the board secretary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, provided opening remarks, talked about the history of the club and thanked all of the local public officials present.
Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall spoke of PG&E’s generosity within the Kern community. He said employment is about being to work on time, enjoying your work, finding something positive to give back every day and that he hopes to see all of the kids at graduation.
Others in attendance included Bakersfield Councilman Russell Johnson; Kern County Superintendent of Schools Christine Frazier; Cindy Pollard, CEO of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce; and Susan Hopkins with CSU Bakersfield. Representatives from many local businesses who have pledged to provide jobs this summer also attended the event.
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