High school senior Karen Reyes is getting ready for her fourth summer in Erie County’s Summer JAM program.
“When I started I was really shy, but I’ve learned to grow as a person and I’ve exposed myself to the real world,” said Reyes.
The program connects Erie County residents between,16 and 21 years old, with jobs in the area.
In 2017 alone, more than 160 students got an inside look at what it’s like to work for businesses here in Erie.
The county is already recruiting employers to reach the new goal of 50 companies in the program.
“We had approximately 40 employers participating in the program. 60 percent were in the City of Erie and 40 percent outside the City of Erie. So we’re gonna try to increase that level a little more outside the City of Erie,” said Gary Lee, the Erie County Director of Administration.
Students who’ve already completed the program are able to participate again the following summer. They can even request which company they’d like to work for.
“I plan on working at Erie Insurance so I think that’s a really great opportunity that just never comes so I’m really grateful for it,” said Reyes.
Shane Donaldson worked with three students last summer at the Blasco Library, and he said he’d recommend the program to any employer.
“I think it just helps maybe shake off some stigma about teens in the workplace. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things. One of the biggest, wonderful surprises to see,” said Donaldson, with the Erie County Public Library.
Lee told us any company looking to hop on board should contact the county earlier rather than later.