A summer program is giving high school and college students job experience, and a little extra money in their pockets.
The program Summer Youth Works! operates through the Palmetto Community Action Partnership. It ended Friday with a special luncheon at Goodwill
"I feel blessed because a lot of opportunities... I can do to help me better my future," said Diamond Vanderhorst a rising senior at Fort Dorchester High School.
Vanderhorst has been a part of the Summer Youth Works! program for two years.
"This year when I went back to my same job site with the Jubilee Market, I'm now an administrative assistant."
Through the 6 week program Vanderhorst and 26 students were assigned to various job sites. The students can make up to $1,000.
"When you're 16 years old and you can earn that stipend, and you get money management skills, and we encourage you to open up your checking account, that's exciting, the youth love it," says Director of Education and Employment Jennifer Brown.
The programs teaches the students job readiness, including dressing for success and customer service skills.
"It gave me the chance to get the feel of being at a desk, experiencing people coming in and out of the office needing help," says program participant Ameika Simmons.
"When you have the opportunity to help a young person, that's making preparations for a better future that's an accomplishment in itself," says Director Brown.
The program is federally funded and participants must apply to join.
"I am going to miss it, it was from June until the end of this month, so it was a really great experience," says Simmons.
Director Brown says she's looking forward for next summer, and is hoping for more funding to provide work opportunities for more students.
"Young people know computers, young people know how to do new and inventive things, and that's helpful to you," says Director Brown.
High school juniors and seniors, and college students who live in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties are able to apply.