BRISTOL – The United Way of West Central Connecticut has partnered with Bristol Public Schools to bring summer vocational programming to students.
These programs offer work experience and prepare students for jobs outside of school.
On Friday morning, Bristol Police Officers were at Bristol Eastern High School to teach students participating in the program about careers in law enforcement.
The officers took questions and demonstrated what different departments do.
The coordinator for the program said that students get to interact with different visiting career paths at the school, such as law enforcement.
“United Way has partnered with Bristol Public schools to offer a program for students who are enrolled in summer school to also do our Career Exploration and Work Experience program,” said Nancy Micloskey, United Way community impact coordinator. “If they complete both, they get an extra school credit and work study credit and can earn up to $1,500 in our paid program.”
Micloskey noted the program had also received some private funding and that students at Bristol Eastern High School had been placed around the community in various job opportunity sites. These sites include the local Shoprite, the Imagine Nation, An Early Learning Center and Cambridge Park as part of the Boys & Girls Club. Another student is working at the Bristol Adult Resource Center.
“The younger students work exclusively in the Bristol School system helping the custodial staff get ready for the coming year,” said Micloskey. “The older ones are placed in worksites across the community.”
The coordinator also said that students get to interact with different visiting career paths at the school, such as law enforcement.
“I felt pretty good about it. I like working for my money,” said Jamar Rodriguez, 15, who has been helping staff prepare for the coming school year. “I ended up meeting the lieutenant governor on my first day… I think this program is great and gives people a good opportunity to learn and get money over the summer.”
Gitanyalis Rosario, 16, said that she plants and plays with the kids and helps with lessons.
“This program is a great opportunity for lots of kids who are underage and to get paid. It helps them to start careers and be independent,” said Rosario.
Enisia Ferrer, 16, stationed at the Boys & Girls Club location in Cambridge Park, and plays a lot of games with the kids.
“I watch over them and make sure they’re following the rules and do paperwork and clean. I love this program because they really give you so much work experience and something great to put on a resume. It makes you proud of earning money,” said Ferrer.
Rosario noted that the best thing about the program was the support coming from its administration to help guide students through their first steps in employment. Rodriguez said the program has helped him more professionally address others.
Lori Theriault of Work It!, an organization focused in business coaching and after school programs, partnered with the United Way for the summer program. She said that they have “certain responsibilities within the program like turning in your time card or showing up on time. Tardiness can get you docked or fired.”
“I would say accountability (is one of the most important skills) that they learn here,” said Theriault.