Summer program gives teens workforce experience, paycheck
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Keeping kids busy in the summer can be hard with parents at work, but one community group is giving them the chance to earn their own paycheck.
Jada Johnson is only 17 years old, but she's already got two years of work under her belt.
"It is actually great because it helps a lot of teens stay off of the streets and not stay at home and do anything," Johnson said.
Johnson got involved with the Entrepreneurship Shadow Program through the 100 Black Men of Tulsa three years ago.
The program pays her to shadow employees at a business a few hours a day.
"It pushes you to go out and get a job and influence you, that you can do anything and that there are people actually out there helping you," Johnson said.
Johnson will be interning with the Tulsa Public Schools police department. She wants to be a physical therapist, but she says she couldn't pass up such a great program, plus she enjoys working at the Service Center.
"One summer I was actually dispatching to the police officers," Johnson said.
President of the program Eddie Evans is one of several who pay the kids every week for their various duties.
He says it is important to get these kids involved in the community and workforce.
"Doing positive things and not just sitting idle with nothing to do and getting involved with negative activities, like gang violence, selling drugs, those types of things," Evans said.
The kids get ten dollars an hour, and as the group says, they are making their money the right way.
Plus, they are learning how to handle their new income.
"Every Friday during the program, there is a financial literacy class taught by a financial person that can tell them about investments, how to balance a checkbook, how to manage their money," Evans said.
For some kids, working during the summer isn't fun. But Johnson doesn't agree.
"It is better to do this than go swimming," Johnson said.
The Tulsa Police Department and the Sheriff's Office contributed $2,500 out of their pockets to help pay the employees.