Aiken high school teens get job experience, cash to head back to school with


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) —  “I’m trying to be a Youtuber on the side,” Benjamin Curry told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked about what he likes to do.

Midland Valley senior is well on his way to becoming the next internet sensation. “I started off with my phone and then I bought a camera and I got all of the stuff on to my computer. It really does take a lot,” Curry added. 

The 12th grader says it takes money to make it all happen. “When I started working for Jump Start, that’s how I got my money to start purchasing different things that I wanted and help my mom out on the side,” Curry also added.

He’s one of the dozens of local students who participated in this year’s Jump Start Program.

“I worked for the Material Center in Aiken County’s industrial building and what we did was we put together a lot of things for Aiken County,” he said. 

Curry worked making agendas for Aiken County Schools. “It’s a lot of work but its also not hard work but you don’t stop, you keep going,” he said. 

During the six-week program, students earned $9.25 an hour. “So with taxes and everything out of it, it came up to $555 every two weeks,” Curry said. 

“We deal with young adults that have barriers,” WIOA Career Coach Donna Roberts said. Roberts’s organization helps young adults find careers to become self-sustaining.

“They don’t have the same resources that a typical family would have. As a career coach, we help them overcome those barriers and get jobs but when you’re helping them with that area, you’re also dealing with the whole person,” she added.  

“So that’s what I did.  I took the opportunity when it was open,” Jaylen Roper told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

The South Aiken senior said what he learned at his internship can be used anywhere. “You learn how to communicate much better and you learn basically more hands-on. I’m a hands-on kind of guy,” he added. “I learn that it takes everybody doing their part to get everything,” Curry added. 

He’s glad he had an alternative. “If it wasn’t for this program, I would probably still be landscaping. Which was something that I didn’t want to do, god I hate landscaping.” Roper said. 

Curry was pleased he could make money and help his mother out as well.

“My momma has a lot of stuff going on right now, in and out of the hospital, and they really worked with my schedule,” he said. “I was able to be there for her and still be able to make money,” he added. 

“It was something different that allowed me to be able to work full time and to get a taste of what it’s like to be in a real-world working environment,” Curry also said.

If you are a rising senior, or a young adult still in school, and you want to participate in the 2019 Jump Start Program, go to your career coach at your local high school.

If you are a young adult, age 16-24, out of school, for whatever reason, and you need help with employment or skills, you can visit any SC Works Center and ask for someone in the WIOA program. 

The Jumpstart Summer Internship Program is a partnership between Aiken County Public Schools and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG). The LSCOG provides Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Program Act (WIOWA) services through local workforce investment.

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