Maynard Jackson High School Principal Stephanie Johnson has successfully launched Jackson’s “Mission Possible: Summer Opportunity” initiative, which has landed almost 500 summer jobs and internships for her students.
Johnson, who arrived at Jackson in November 2012, began searching for summer jobs opportunities after hearing a student comment that during the summer, since students don’t have to report to school everyday, they have a greater chance of getting into trouble. Johnson contacted the Southeast Atlanta Communities for Schools (SEACS), and soon after, calls from local business representatives began pouring into the school.
The summer employment movement quickly grew in popularity, so school officials, along with Jackson graduation coach Arlena Edmonds, decided to host two job fairs to accommodate the vast number of interested students and employers. In the end, Jackson students landed jobs and internships with companies like United Sisters and Brothers, Zeist, the Maynard H. Jackson Foundation, Emory University, Barnes and Noble, Atlanta Workforce Development, the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta History Museum, Teen Talk, and General Electric.
As a result of the Mission Possible: Summer Opportunity initiative, nearly 500 Jackson students walked away with summer employment and internship opportunities. Students who were assigned summer jobs are earning between $7.50/hr and $14/hr. Although internships are typically regarded as unpaid training with an instructional focus, some companies are offering the Jackson interns stipends as large as $300.
Johnson actually secured more than 500 job offers, however she wanted her students to earn the privilege of finding work through the summer work initiative. So program coordinators developed a screening process to ensure that the teens would have an opportunity to become productive workers only if they could prove they had been productive students first.
The Jackson students displayed a significant amount of effort and discipline to gain and maintain summer jobs. Johnson does not want that hard work to end when the students receive their final check for the summer.
“I hope that skills such as attendance and follow-through on assignments will carryover into academic responsibility in August as a result of summer employment,” said Johnson.