This summer, the City of Milpitas gave a group of MUSD students the opportunity of a lifetime.
Through their Youth Force work program, the City matched 18 students from both Milpitas High and Cal Hills with different employers.
The program went from June 10-August 2, and had students working at places like the Milpitas Sports Center, City Hall, Milpitas Library, Milpitas Fire Department, a dental office, a speech pathologist’s office, and even school district offices.
All students worked from Monday to Thursday, about 24 hours a week, and received $15 an hour in payment from the City.
During the first 2 weeks of the program, students received training and engaged in work-based learning to better prepare them for their first day on the job. Andrea Hutchison, who worked as a Coordinator for the Youth Force program this summer, led the training, guiding students through team-building exercises and activities, and engaging them in discussions to deepen their understanding about how to function in the workplace. Hutchison has also been a teacher at MHS for the past 19 years, and loves working with students; she is also MUSD's Digital Business Academy lead and is focused on building partnerships with our city and businesses to support student internships, mentoring, and career pathways.
“This has been one of the most enjoyable summer jobs I’ve ever had,” said Hutchison.
Rosana Cacao, the Recreation and Community Services Supervisor at the City of Milpitas, oversaw the Youth Force program, and offered tremendous support along the way.
Chloe Wang, 16, who will be going into her senior year at Milpitas High, worked as an HR intern with View, Inc., a Milpitas smart glass company. “I’ve been able to see the corporate world in a different way and see what it’s like to work in that type of environment,” said Wang.
Another incoming senior, Yong Tao, 17, spent the summer working for the City of Milpitas’ HR department. “I’ve gotten a better look at how our local government operates and runs behind the scenes,” said Tao.
Tao had always pondered going into the medical field in the future, but after working for the City, he says he’s now open to the possibility of considering a government-related job.
One student, Karrington Kenney, an incoming junior, had the opportunity to work for Find My Everything, a start-up company that created a GPS tracking device to help with finding anything -- or anyone -- across the country. “It’s really cool to be behind the scenes of a startup like that,” said Kenney, who helped with things like social media, planning their October launch party, and even creating a YouTube video. She also learned a great deal about angel investors, and how a company can evolve from an idea to a reality. Find My Everything is based in San Jose. In terms of her career goals, Kenney plans to go into the Criminal Justice System.
Along with providing work experience, part of the program also involved employers sitting down with students for an hour each week to discuss their goals. Students also met weekly with Hutchison on the MHS campus, where they spoke of their goals from the week prior and how they’d met them. They also talked a great deal about the importance of making smart decisions. “I asked them to observe people making decisions in the workplace,” said Hutchison. “And to just think about how many decisions a day their employers are making. And I also asked them to keep a log of the decisions that they made.”
At the end of the program, a luncheon was held at Dave & Buster’s to celebrate the students’ achievements.
Many of the students said it was a great learning experience and wished that the program had lasted longer.
“This sort of experience really gives everybody a new perspective on things and changes our lives,” said Chloe Wang.
The City of Milpitas' Recreation and Community Services Department has offered such a great opportunity for our students to learn and thrive as they continue moving toward their future careers!