The City of Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell kicked off the third annual Summer 500 program today.
The Summer 500 is an internship program that helps students gain valuable works experience and create important networking connections. Nearly 300 local youth participated in the 2017 Summer 500 program. So far this year the City has received more than 400 application from students. The City still needs more businesses to step forward and provide jobs. (For more information visit: www.savannahga.gov/Summer500)
St. Joseph’s-Candler Hospital President and CEO Paul Hinchey spoke on behalf of the business community. Last year he hired six students. “My hats off to the City,” he said. “We have an obligation in this City to expose the students to life skills. We have an opportunity as an employer to do that and pitch in and help these students become the best versions of themselves that they can be.”
Mayor DeLoach said he is committed to helping young people find jobs and set them on the path to success. “This is the most important thing our businesses can do is take advantage this coming Summer 500 and help these kids out,” he said.
Last year more than 100 businesses hired students thanks to public-private partnerships with the Savannah Area Chamber, the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), Tourism Leadership Council and individual local business owners.
“There is no other city in this country that has a program like this that is completely funded by the business community and not taxpayers,” said Bell.
Four past student participants also attended today’s kickoff. Savannah Arts Academy student A’Lani Coppock worked at St. Joseph’s Candler in the Radiology department. Ajani Davis, a New Hampstead High School students worked for Hussey Gay & Bell design firm. Ty’Sahwn Guyton from Jenkins High and Maurice Lee from Beach High were both employed by the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.
Coppock said being involved in the Summer 500 Program has been a life-changing experience. “It’s a job, you get that real world experience, a lot of children don’t get the chance and opportunity to be given a job. You are doing something with your life and you are making an impact,” she said.
The application deadline for students and businesses is March 30.
The Summer 500 program is part of the City of Savannah’s strategic plan Savannah Forward. Proving job opportunities to young people helps the City accomplish two of its five priorities: Economic Strength & Poverty Reduction and Public Safety. In 2016 and 2017 Savannah Police saw a reduction in crime during the summer months compared to previous summers.