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Tampa Bay Times: Summer program helps ready Pinellas students for careers after graduation

Tampa Bay Times: Summer program helps ready Pinellas students for careers after graduation

(July 13) — As a junior at Seminole High School, Michael Piotrski, 16, has always dreamed of getting a job in a field that can be useful to his community. Recently, a summer program allowed him to work at the South Cross Bayou water plant in Pinellas County.

Now, he has a clearer view of his future.

“I hope to do something in this field,’’ said Piotrski. “It’s a really cool plant”

Piotrski got the help he needed from the Summer Career Acceleration Program, an initiative by the Pinellas Education Foundation and the Pinellas County school district to help students in the county’s 17 high schools develop skills for the work world. The six-week program, in its third year, is open to students 16 to 18 years old who are entering 12th grade and are likely to need to work upon high school graduation.

Each intern works at least 20 hours a week. They are paid $12 an hour and a stipend over their internship. Beginning June 6, a total of 216 students participated at 30 local businesses and nonprofits in Pinellas, said Nicole Gonzalez, assistant director of communications at the Pinellas Education Foundation.

Gonzalez said the initiative consolidates efforts to help motivate and guide students as they prepare for the future. This year, the program operates with a $90,000 Bank of America grant. Read more