NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)-- It's an important lesson for kids to learn hard work pays off. The city of New Haven is putting young people to work this summer.
"Guess what my first job was? Fourteen-years-old, $78 a week, in 1970 cleaning city parks," said Mayor John DeStefano.
Some words of encouragement from Mayor DeStefano as teens embarked on their first day at their summer jobs.
As part of the Youth at Work program in New Haven, hundreds of teens have the chance to gain valuable career skills, and put some money in their pockets.
"I chose to participate because I really wanted to save up for my college fund and because of having a job and actual job experience," said Talin Cooper, Hillhouse High School.
Thanks to a grant from Bank of America, this year the program is able to host 650 youth at 78 locations in the city.
"I was actually pretty excited. I couldn't wait to get to work," said Dymin Elis, Career High School.
The teens will spend five weeks working at area non-profits like Higher Heights and Solar Youth.
Solar Youth has been teaming up with Youth at Work for twelve years now and one of the great things about this particular program is many of the campers this year will go on to be interns.
Kenaya Streater has been with Solar Youth for nine years. This is her first as a paid intern.
"Working with the kids, I see myself reflect, like they reflect on me and how I was when I was younger," said Streater, Wilbur Cross High School.
More than 2,000 students applied for the Youth at Work Program this year. Those chosen to participate say they appreciate all the city does to encourage them to succeed.
"Everything is awesome. It's really fun. Good experience. You learn stuff, you learn about yourself and also other people," said Edwin, Gateway Community College Student.
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