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Summer youth employment program seeks Washtenaw County employers and young job seekers

Published: Wednesday, February 15th

By Natalia Holtzman

The SummerWorks program, which matches young adults with paid internships and mentoring in Washtenaw County, will return this summer for its eighth season.

“Our goal is to provide a supportive environment for young adults who are entering the workforce,” says Kathleen Clancey, SummerWorks program manager.

SummerWorks invites young adults, ages 16-24, to submit an application for the program.

“We’re hoping to accept 150 [applicants] with the intention of placing 100 [in internships],” Clancey says.

Accepted applicants will be matched with a Washtenaw County business, where they will work for 10 weeks, as well as with a mentor who will help guide them through their work experience.

Participants will also be invited to attend professional development sessions, which will begin prior to the internships “to make sure that young adults are ready and confident when they go into their internships,” according to Clancey.

In the professional development sessions, Clancey says, “we focus on job skills and things like building resumes, writing cover letters, … professional communication, conflict management, and workplace ethics.”

Clancey says the program is accessible both to young adults who have already identified their career goals and to those who haven’t prepared a plan.

“A lot of our young adults don't have an idea quite yet of what they want to do,” she says.

The SummerWorks program launched in 2016. Program Coordinator Armeka Richey says diversity, equity, and inclusion are a major priority for the program. According to Richey, SummerWorks will work with mentors and employers on “how to use correct pronouns and how to honor cultural foods and rituals and religions” out of respect for their young interns.

“Come in expecting folks to value your voice,” Richey advises applicants.

“Have an open mind,” Clancey says. “You’re going to learn a lot of skills and have a really productive summer.”

Employers interested in hosting an intern may attend one of several upcoming virtual or in-person information sessions. Young people may apply for an internship here.

Natalia Holtzman is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and others.

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