JACKSON, Mich. — Reliable summer employment can be hard to come by for local youth, so the City of Jackson has created new jobs this for those in high school and college.
It's called The Youth Core Program which hires locals to clean up the town.
For some employees, this job is more than the money.
"It's humbling in a sense."
20-year-old Maurice White, comes to work everyday for the Youth Core Program, excited to improve Jackson.
"You might come around downtown every once in a while for an event or two, but to be down here every day to help beautify it, you get to see what the ins and outs are to make sure every little piece looks perfect," said White.
That includes weeding and mulching popular city parking lots.
"It's not as bad as it would seem," said White. "We have to get down and dirty, like right now we are cleaning up mulch so we have a little dirt, a little grass and have the heat coming down on us, but it's not that bad. It builds character."
The city of Jackson hopes this new program also builds resumes.
"It's gonna be more than just working out in the heat doing gardening," said Aaron Dimick, the Jackson Public Information Officer. "We want this to be a full approach to help youth with employment so there's going to be things like helping them with job interviewing skills, also resume writing and getting that crucial experience of their first job."
This Parks and Rec program employs 11 people for the majority of the summer.
"We have lots of people who work for Parks and Rec who are out doing projects, but they can't get to these smaller tasks; so this is really great for the city that we have people paying attention to the smaller details," said Dimick.
Both the department and the employees are already seeing a difference throughout the city of Jackson.
"Not everybody has the chance to give back to their community," said White. "In this aspect, you are really at the front line because you are making sure everything looks pretty for those who view the city or buy a home or just having fun down here."
Besides mulching and weeding, the program also focuses on cleaning up cigarette butts and trash throughout the city,
This is the first year for the program.
And, although they are fully staffed, they hope to expand the program next summer.
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