In August, the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance recruited a group of teenagers for a small-scale Wayne Tomorrow! Work Crew. It is a new paid work experience for high-school age students.
Tessa Wright, who coordinates the program, said the WT! Work Crew provides young people with an opportunity to work at different jobs and to experience different types of work with the help of a group of community partners,
Along with the work-experience component, the students are involved in career exploration through “lunch and learn” activities and adult occupational mentoring. But critically, the Work Crews provide opportunities, in more ways than one.
Work Crew Supervisor Alison Miszler came to the program from a summer job with Wayne County, overseeing the Parks & Recreation schedule. Home from college for the summer, Miszler said she wasn’t sure what she was going to do when a friend recommended her for the county job.
That opportunity led to the Work Crew position and once the summer program ends, she is headed to a new post at a local law firm.
Following her sophomore year, Miszler said she is taking some time off to gain a better understanding of where her career interests lie. “I never thought I would be doing something like this, but I really like it,” she said,
Along with getting the three-member pilot crew organized and on task three to five days a week depending on weather, she also oversees their rides to and from work on County Transportation.
Miszler said there is often a stigma that young people don’t want to work, but she said they just need an opportunity. In fact, one of the students, Kailey, right, received a job offer from the Chamber of the Northern Poconos after the crew worked there. Another has been invited to join a US Army Corps of Engineers youth program once after working at Prompton Dam, and a third already works at the Wayne County Public Library.
One day in late August, the crew gathered in the basement of the Senior Center in Honesdale packing bread and butter for the freezer packs seniors receive each week in addition to their daily, home-delivered meals.
The day before, they toured the Courthouse and learned about its history, attended the County Commissioners Meeting and lunched in Central Park. Before that, the teens washed county vehicles for Children & Youth Services at Park Street.
The WT! Work Crew creates opportunites for young people to develop important work skills and engages youth in the community, while illustrating rewarding careers right here in Wayne County.
Businesses can recover 50% of training costs for On-the-Job Training, call the Alliance at 570-229-3420.