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Philadelphia teens who will intern at more than 25 city departments this summer through the WorkReady program listen to speakers at their orientation day at City Hall on July 9. Photo: Emily Neil / AL DÍA News

WorkReady is redefining the summer job for Philly teens

More Philadelphia young people than ever before will be interning with over 25 city agencies this summer through the Work Ready program, managed by the…

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On Monday, more than 100 Philadelphia young people started off their summer internships at agencies throughout the city with words of encouragement and support from Mayor Jim Kenney and other leaders.

Through the WorkReady program, managed by Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), young Philadelphians will have the opportunity to work in over 25 different city departments, gaining first-hand knowledge of how the city government works and honing job skills while working at what for some of the interns will be their first professional paid experience. This year's group of interns working in city government is the largest yet. 

The interns gathered at City Hall on Monday are part of a cohort of almost 10,000 teens who will participate in high-quality, paid summer work experiences with the more than 50 providers throughout Philadelphia that have partnered with PYN and the WorkReady program.

“This is an opportunity for you to learn and practice very important skills that you will not just use only at your internship,” said Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend to the students gathered at City Hall on Monday afternoon as part of their orientation and the kick-off of the summer work program. “I promise you that you will use those skills when you return back to school, or return to your next step in your career journey. So the time you take to ask a lot of questions, meet the people around you, learn from each other, and invest in yourself and curiosity is invaluable.”

Fulmore-Townsend urged the interns to give their best effort both for the sake of their own experience, and in order to strengthen the program as a whole for teens who will follow in their footsteps in the years to come. She also expressed her hope that they take advantage of the opportunity to exercise their curiosity and practice teamwork with their peers and mentors in the workplace.

“I see each of you as boundless, endless potential, with great talent, great skills, and just needing the opportunity to focus that energy and learn more about just how much you can accomplish,” she said.

Ricardo Calderón, director of the office of youth engagement, offered the interns similar words of encouragement.

“I’m going to challenge you all to take this opportunity to not only learn and grow and you know be invested in the internships and spaces you have, but really think about how this can add to your story, think about what it is that you want, think about your dreams and desires,” he told the interns.

Support for the WorkReady program from the city and public and private sector companies is part of the long term, citywide workforce development strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, that was launched by public and private stakeholders in February.

“Young people are our future workforce and we need to ensure that they are prepared to fill the jobs that our Philadelphia employers have,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a press statement. “By making youth employment a priority, we are making the success of our future economy a priority.”

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