Area students score a job and life skills over summer vacation

St. Bernard Participants with Chalmette Refining & Parish Representatives: Front Row [L-R]: Elizabeth Ellison-Frost (Chalmette Refining), Debra Major-Lawrence (Business & Career Solutions Center) Macie Graf, Dorothy Hills (Chalmette Refining), Baylei Couture, Catherin Aguirre, Gisselle Carvajal, Jennifer Barnett (Business & Career Solutions Center), Jamia Hines, Paige Williams and Alyssa Alfonso. Back row [L-R]: Terrence Harris, Jr., Madison Brandt, River Alfonso, Nicole Maradiaga, Dr. Thomas Warner (Nunez Community College), and St. Bernard Parish President, Guy McInnis. Photograph by Lenor Duplessis, St. Bernard Parish Government.

This summer, Chalmette Refining, in partnership with the St. Bernard Parish Career Solutions Center and NOLA Youth Works Summer Employment Program, is donating $40,000 ($20,000 for each program) to fund meaningful employment and educational experiences for youth in St. Bernard Parish and Algiers. The Summer Partners Program kicked off on June 12, 2017.

Each summer young adults are provided a job that directly benefits our community. In its 22nd year in St. Bernard Parish, the program is employing students to work in office jobs for the St. Bernard School Board, Parish Government, and Nunez Community College. Over this twenty-two year span in St. Bernard Parish, the program has provided an opportunity for nearly 550 youth to participate in meaningful employment and educational experiences with a total investment of $1,240,000.

In its inaugural year in Algiers, the Summer Partners Program participants are working for Algiers Charter Schools Association, Edna Karr High School, Inspire NOLA, Landry/Walker High School, The Loft at Behrman NORDC Rec Center, The Loft at Cutoff NORDC Rec Center, Young Audiences at Eisenhower School, and the 2nd City Constables Office.

The program is open to youth between the ages of sixteen and nineteen and typically operates for six to seven weeks during the summer months. The goals of this project are three-fold: 1) prepare young people for the workforce; 2) encourage further education and learning; and 3) instill leadership skills.

The participants gain hands on work
experience through jobs provided by the partners listed above. The work component is designed to introduce and reinforce the demands and rewards associated with holding a job as well as impart communication, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. In addition, relevant classroom-based learning activities are provided to the youth and include various topics such as: community service, financial literacy, career exploration, work ethic, and customer service. The youth are paid a salary fully funded by Chalmette Refining and administered by the Workforce Development Board in St. Bernard and the NOLA Youth Works Summer Employment Program in Algiers.

Algiers Participants with Chalmette Refining & City Representatives: Back Row [L-R]: Kendon Barnes, Keith Ford, Tariq Mitchell, Jacob Parker, Jalen Williams, Christian Rice, Joel Profit Jr., Derrick Bowie, Reginald Magee, and Jamal Freeman. Front Row [L-R]: Dajanae Vaughn, Morgan Dixon, Brianna Crowden , Courtney Smith, Korinn Lloyd, Elizabeth Ellison-Frost (Chalmette Refining), Ja’Nane Smothers, Dorothy Hills (Chalmette Refining), Executive Director of the Network for Economic Opportunity, Ashleigh Gardere, Program Coordinator NOLA Youth Works, Jason DeGruy, Cydnei Meredith, Aaliyah Alridge, Anya Pollard, and Kennedi Harrell. Photograph by Sean Hernandez, Lakeside Camera.