Up & Coming Weekly

September 19, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 9 of 100

SEPTEMBER 20 - 26, 2017 UCW 9 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NEWS For a generation now, Cumberland County parents have been unable to persuade their sons and daugh- ters to return home after college. e post-college stu- dent flight results from the belief that 20-somethings don't see much of a future working in their home- town. e allure of opportunities in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and other points north and west is the apparent culprit. Indeed, Cumberland County's population has not grown significantly in more than two decades. e city of Fayetteville came up with an idea that may help reverse, or at least slow down, the trend. e city's innovative Youth Internship Summer Pro- gram introduces young people who are still in high school to local career opportunities that may entice them to come home after college. e fledgling project focuses on STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. e program began last fiscal year with five city interns, nine Public Works Com- mission interns and three students in the private sec- tor. It was expanded this summer with the city hiring 10 high school seniors, PWC 10 and the private sector two. "I'll be working with Christine Michaels, new Chamber CEO, to help promote the program to our private sector employers," said Assistant City Manager Jay Reinstein. "At a minimum, I would like to have at least 10 private sector commitments next year." e City and PWC pay their 20 interns $8 an hour or approximately $1,536 each for the six-week period they're employed. To encourage more private sector involvement, city government agreed to subsidize local businesses by paying 50 percent of the cost, or approximately $750 per student. e total investment in the lives of 22 young people was $31,258. Reinstein called it money well-spent: "is program exposes our youth to local government opportunities and provides them with career options they may not have considered if not for these summer internships." Students were referred by Cumberland County Schools and interviewed by city, utility and private sector staff before being hired. Reinstein said this year was very competitive. Of the nearly 50 students who applied, almost half of them were hired. Reinstein's hope is that city council will be able to fund addi- tional students next summer. City hall interns worked in engineering and infrastructure, finance, human resources, parks and recreation, transit, the airport and information technology. Some of the tasks and projects included: Billing, clerical work, data entry, website applications and FAST scheduling. City Finds Success with STEM Youth Internship by JEFF THOMPSON JEFF THOMPSON, Senior News Reporter. COMMENTS? news@upandcomingweekly. com. (910) 484-6200. This summer the city and private sector joined forces and invested $31,258 in hiring local students as interns.

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