Statesboro Youth Connect seeks exceptional high school students to participate in paid program

The City of Statesboro is now accepting applications for its Statesboro Youth Connect (SYC) summer program. The city’s inaugural 5-week pre-professional program aims to inspire local high school students to become engaged, lifelong learners in their community. The program is set to begin on June 7, 2021, and will focus on the core concepts of education, employment, civic responsibility, leadership and diversity.

“I am delighted to see this program finally come to fruition,” said Mayor Jonathan McCollar. “Since taking office in 2017, one of my highest priorities has been engaging the youth of our community in a meaningful way. Typically, young people have to be in college or much older to apply for internships and pre-professional programs. By offering an opportunity for high school students to receive first-hand career development experience early on, they are more prepared for the workforce and have a better idea of what they would like to do after graduation.”

At the request of Mayor Jonathan McCollar and District 1 City Councilmember Phil Boyum, city staff have worked over the past year to develop a program that would allow students to learn more about local government and explore possible career paths in local government. The result of that request is a pre-professional summer program, which will provide a setting similar to an internship for high school students to gain invaluable experiences while also earning a stipend. During Statesboro City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, the council voted to approve a $25,000 expenditure to provide weekly stipends to the SYC participants, which will amount to $7.25 per hour.

“Staff turnover is an ongoing challenge for many organizations,” said Councilmember Boyum. “The City of Statesboro often loses its experienced employees to surrounding communities simply because these folks want to be close to family and loved ones. By providing our local high schoolers an opportunity to see the inner workings of city operations, we can show them career possibilities they may not have otherwise considered while also establishing a pipeline of local talent that can develop into long-term employees and, ultimately, provide additional stability for the community. Plus, they get the chance to make a little summer money. It’s a win-win all around.”

To be eligible for the program, a student must be enrolled in high school (grades 9 through 12 during August 2021) and living in the city limits of Statesboro. Each week, students will be expected to report Monday through Friday from  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will earn a weekly stipend. Students will have a one-hour lunch break each day. Lunch will not be provided. Access to transportation is not required. 

Twelve hours of each week will be spent with city departments while the remaining 18 hours will be spent with local nonprofits. The program will cover the following topics: fundamentals of city government, life skills, soft skills, as well as lessons in employability, career exploration, civic engagement, leadership and diversity.

“Statesboro Youth Connect is the embodiment of our Mayor and City Council’s vision to offer high school students an engaging summer program,” said Demetrius Bynes, City of Statesboro Director of Human Resources and Youth Connect Program Director. “The pilot program is designed for 15-20 students to participate in a unique opportunity to learn about local government, strengthen personal skills, explore career paths, and collaborate with civic organizations.  I am excited to lead this effort for our city and look forward to interacting with some of Statesboro’s brightest students.”

The deadline to apply for SYC is May 4, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. High school students interested in learning more or applying should visit www.statesboroga.gov/youthconnect. Questions about the program can be directed to the City of Statesboro’s Department of Human Resources at (912)-764-0683 or through email at hr@statesboroga.gov.