Economy

Just a week after graduating high school in 2016, Kenneth Albyati was happy to be making more cash.

Up until May of last year he worked at Taco Bell, a job he began when he was 16 years old. His mom told him about SummerWorks, a program for young workers, and he got a job at GE making more than $11 per hour.

SummerWorks was started in 2011 by Mayor Greg Fischer and that year, helped 200 young people find jobs. Last year, more than 5,000 young workers found jobs through the program at more than 140 organizations.

On Wednesday, Fischer announced the launch of SummerWorks 2017, operated by Kentuckianaworks of Louisville Metro.

Albyati, now 18, has a full-time job at GE and takes classes at Jefferson Community and Technical College. He was offered the full-time position after his stint with SummerWorks.

“I never called in or anything and I always had my safety gear with me,” he said of his time with the company last summer.

Albyati said he was treated like any other employee. And he said making sure he followed the rules helped him snag a full-time job.

“I think that was a big role in them hiring me,” he said.

He wants to be a mechanical engineer when he’s older.

Businesses participating in SummerWorks 2017 include 4th Street Live, Norton Healthcare and UPS. Companies who can’t hire but still would like to participate can donate $2,500, which would fund a summer job at a nonprofit or city agency.

“Summer jobs are critical building blocks for young people, and SummerWorks is crucial for the health of the local economy because it creates a pipeline of future talent,” said Fischer in a news release.

Jonese Franklin

19-year-old Javoughn Brown

Javoughn Brown, 19, also was employed last year through SummerWorks. His post was at Kindred Healthcare.

“It really taught me how to work in a corporate setting,” Brown said. “I learned about project management, how to manage other people, especially if they were my age or younger or older.”

Brown wants to be a social worker.

“So in a few years, when I’m a grad student or working in a social work office or working somewhere, the skills I learned this past summer will walk with me forever,” he said.

Employers who’d like to participate, as well as young job seekers ages 16-21, can now sign up on the program’s website.

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.