High school students across Philly are excited for summer. That includes Xavier Burgos and Keven Lopez, who are ninth-graders at Kensington Health Sciences Academy (KHSA).
This summer they are excited to hang out with friends, go on trips with their families, and stay busy with their summer jobs!
Xavier will work at a medical office in the Kensington area and help staff with administrative tasks, and Keven will be a camp counselor at a local summer camp for elementary students. They connected to these opportunities through WorkReady Wednesdays at KHSA.
Keven and Xavier connected to these opportunities through WorkReady Wednesdays at KHSA, where school staff assist students with the summer job search process. WorkReady is a program managed by the Philadelphia Youth Network and many Philadelphia schools coordinate with WorkReady to ensure that students are learning about slots and submitting applications.
For KHSA staff, it was important to empower students during the application process while also providing consistent weekly supports. Diana Finesmith, a counselor at KHSA, knows how important it is for students to have support and encouragement during the job search process. “I’ve met adults who struggle figuring out forms and keeping track of the right documents. For a student who must juggle that, school work, family and social situations, it can be absolutely daunting.”
At KHSA, WorkReady Wednesdays began in March and ran through the first week of May. During the sessions, students reviewed their job application packets with counselors to ensure that they were ready to apply for the WorkReady slots that interested them.
“We want them to succeed, and we know that they can. But we also want them to feel empowered to work for their own success,” said Diana.
Since March, over 60 KHSA students have found summer employment thanks to WorkReady Wednesdays.
Students begin their paid jobs in June, when classes end. Students have been hired at businesses and nonprofits including the Philadelphia Education Fund, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and Mural Arts.
Keven and Xavier both hope to become doctors after high school. KHSA will prepare them for their career goals, and so will their summer jobs. This summer, Keven will learn about the administrative side of the medical field, while Xavier will learn about interacting with and caring for children.
“Sometimes when we think about getting jobs for our kids we think of the technical skills, but forget that you have to learn how to be a good teammate and co-worker too,” said Community Schools coordinator, Antonio Romero.
Keven sees his summer job as the first step towards his long-term goals. “Mr. Romero and Mrs. Finesmith, and really everyone here at KHSA, always tell us that what we do today affects us when we’re older. [This job] is going to help me with what I want to do in life.”
Best of luck Xavier, Keven, and all students working this summer! We are proud of your hard work all year round.