TAMPA, Fla. — Some East Tampa students are spending their summer preparing for their future careers thanks to the Summer Youth Career Exploration program.

It not only teaches students about networking and interviewing, but students also work for the City of Tampa, earning money while completing the program.

What You Need To Know

  • Summer Youth Career Exploration program is for teenagers living in East Tampa

  • Students are paid $15 per hour for 32 hours each week while in the program

  • It not only teaches students about networking and interviewing skills, but students also work for the City of Tampa while completing the program

The city started the program back in 2006 as a way to keep teenagers engaged in something positive over the summer. Now organizers say it’s morphed into something even better, providing students with the skills they need for their future careers.

Monday’s lesson at the Summer Youth Career Exploration program was on financial literacy, and considering these students are earning $15 per hour for their work in this program, they’ll have some money to manage.

“In school, you really learn simple math, they teach a little about life, but here at City of Tampa CRA we learn more about the in depth of what life has to bring to you,” said Sevion Daniels, a rising senior at Jefferson High School.

This is Daniels’ second year of participating. He’ll be a senior next year, and says this program covers everything school doesn’t.

“The experience of talking to people, networking, being able to go out to different places and talk about who I am as a person, being able to interview, my finances, today we’re learning about financial literacy and also to be able to have the type of connections I can go to later on in life,” he said.

Those skills are exactly why Cedric McCray, East Tampa and Drew Park CRA Manager, says this program continues to be a success. Students work for the city helping clean up their neighborhoods, then spend time learning valuable life skills.

“We’re doing financial literacy, they will be doing interviewing and public speaking skills, they will be job shadowing, some of our various departments storm water, the fire department has been very engaged,” said McCray.

Alonzo Godwin is another returning student. He just graduated this year and plans on attending TECO’s lineman program at Hillsborough Community College in the fall. He says this program helped him find that career, and know how to go about getting it.

“It helps you with resumes, and how to approach a job and applications and everything, how to search it, and how to be your own self,” said Alonzo.

The city accepts 36 students each summer. All the students live in East Tampa and are paid $15 per hour for 32 hours each week. The program fills up fast — this year they reached capacity in March.