By Crystal Ritchie, HR Manager City of Meridian
This summer the City of Meridian Human Resources Department was very pleased to offer an exciting opportunity for students between the ages of 14 to 17 to be introduced to the functions of city government and develop real life work skills. This program is called the Youth Work Life Skills Program.
The Youth Work Life Skills Program provided 15 young individuals the opportunity to learn a basic understanding of local city government and develop administrative and practical skills that will serve them well in future occupations. The participants gained hands-on experience and provided clerical support to several departments. In addition they learned how to organize their time, provide excellent customer service, and understand the expectations and responsibilities of holding a job.
The interns provided over 1,329 hours of assistance and support to the city’s various departments which was invaluable. Mark Niemeyer, Meridian Fire Chief said “The summer internship program provided a valuable opportunity for young men and women to learn how City departments function and operate. For an individual considering a future career in the public sector, this experience will no doubt help shape that decision.”
In the Wastewater Department, they were responsible for entering manhole inspection data from paper inspection forms into Hansen 8, our infrastructure asset management system. This included looking up each manhole in our Public Works GIS system to verify location information. They job shadowed our Water Operators and gained an understanding of the daily functions they perform. They were also responsible for the ground maintenance and beautification of the Water Treatment Plant and associated facilities. At City Hall several interns worked in Human Resources, Public Works, Fire Administration, Parks and Recreation, City Clerks, and the Mayor’s office learning the daily operations of office logistics, answering telephones, greeting visitors, and providing general office assistance.
One parent said “I just want to extend a huge thank you to the City of Meridian for the opportunity you guys are giving with this city internship. I think it is so awesome that the City is doing this for the up coming adults. My daughter is so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the program. She called me after her new hire orientation to inform me she is now a “city employee”.
Another parent said “This was the first time my son experienced the whole employment process; from filling out the application, to being interviewed and selected, going through orientation, learning new skills and carrying out assigned duties, getting feedback on his performance, submitting time sheets, and receiving paychecks (the best part!). Through the process, I watched him mature and gain confidence in his abilities. He will be a better equipped job applicant and employee in the future as a result of this program. It also opened up some new career possibilities for him to consider which is awesome.”
These young adults are our future and we hope that their participation in this type of program introduced them to new, or enhanced, valuable work / life skills that will benefit them in their future choices, continued education, and job related opportunities as well as help them be successful at whatever they pursue.
We are excited to see what the summer of 2012 holds for this successful program.