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Student job program extended

CHAMPAIGN -- The City of Champaign will continue a program which gives jobs to students.
CHAMPAIGN -- The City of Champaign will continue a program which gives jobs to students. The city council voted Tuesday night to support it with $75,000 dollars a year. WCIA-3'S Gary Brode finds out why this is good news for students like Tylon Turner from Central High School.

Thanks to the summer job program, she's gained a wealth of knowledge she'll take into the real world.

Turner says, "I think it's a great opportunity and I would never pass it up."

This is the second year Turner has been a part of the Champaign Schools Summer Youth Program. Her time has taught her valuable life lessons.

"Working for the city really has taught me a lot. At first, I wasn't really too excited to work in an office," says Turner. "But working here has taught me responsibility."

Turner's boss agrees.

"I think she has learned a lot," says Colleen Medara. "Committing to a job and showing up on time and just some really good responsibilities and things she'll need to have when she goes off into the world when she's done with school."

150 students are in the program and there is a long list of kids waiting. To even be considered they must keep up a 2.0 GPA, stay out of trouble and come to class.

"It gives kids an opportunity to learn some trades that otherwise they wouldn't be able to do," says Medara.

That's why the city has decided to keep the program going for the foreseeable future.

"For Champaign,  it's a huge impact on the businesses as well. The businesses get to have an intern or worker for the summer they get to share knowledge with. In the future, maybe they come back as a full-time employee."

$75,000 will come from the city. Another $75,000 is matched by the Champaign School District. The money pays students for their time.

Foster says, "To some kids, it is to help buy their school clothes and to help buy things they like, but for other children it goes to their families."

The experience is what Turner really gets out of it.

"Kids don't really get the opportunity to see what a work life is like," Turner says. "And that really taught me lessons how to do that when I get older."

Mayor Don Gerard says the program is very successful and more and more kids are getting hired full-time. The city would love to expand the program to include more kids, but extra money just isn't there right now.
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