CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte's Mayor Youth Employment Program (MYEP) is looking to expand this summer. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is looking for an additional 250 businesses to sign up for this program to increase participation.
Lyles wants to double the participation from last year. She wants to offer 800 students a summer job this year. Leaders say it's all hands on deck to get more companies to sign up.
"I think it takes more of the businesses recognizing the value of that contribution. Yes these are interns and you have to supervise and manage and help them be successful, but there's a lot of value in that because that one person may be the CEO of that business in the next 50 years," Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said.
This year for the first time in the program's 32 year history, the city of Charlotte will work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) and Mecklenburg County to double the internships. Mecklenburg County says instead of hiring 99 students this year it will hire 120 students, while CMS says it will hire 75 students.
CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox says giving students a job will make a difference.
"What it does is makes their education come alive. They won't just be kind of working on the grounds crew. Some people will be in the office working in finance, others will be working in routing and transportation," CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox said.
Leaders hope jobs will help students escape poverty. They say it sometimes takes 10 years for young people to escape poverty. Leaders say offering a summer job can offer them hope and give companies an advantage.
"You are going to be developing your own skilled work force as being developed according to your specifications. To be able to move your company forward and to be able to move our city forward," City of Charlotte Youth Programs Manager Dawn Hill said.
Bank of American has also stepped in. It will be hiring more students as well this summer. The company says it's serious about making a difference.
"That's really important for our commitment to economic mobility. We talk about that a lot in this community. We are on a journey to do better in that regard and this is a great first step," Bank of America Charles Bowan said.
MYEP is for students between the ages of 16-18 years old. Applicants have to write an essay, have letters of recommendation and do an interview. The program lasts for eight weeks and students works 20 hours per week and get paid at least $8 an hour.
The city is looking for private, public and non-profit organizations to help out. If interested call 704-336-3380 or go to www.CharlotteNC.gov/youth