CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A new program in Chesapeake aims to help high school students with summer employment. It's called "Grow Our Own."
The initiative is a way for Chesapeake Public Schools students to earn a little cash and dip their toes in a new trade.
“It’s going to teach our young people how to be responsible," said Chesapeake parent Melanie Pangilinan.
CPS leaders said the program is only for rising juniors and seniors. Those students who qualify will work inside the division, getting a firsthand look at the education system.
Pangilinan said while her son is not old enough to work yet, she believes this program will help with school staffing issues.
"The climate we have... I do notice that right now, our schools are struggling to find the manpower to keep going," Pangilinan said.
Dr. Shonda Windham, who is the CPS Director of College and Career Readiness, said students will earn $11 per hour and work 40 hours a week for the whole summer.
“So for example, if a student might be interested in the electricity field, they may work with our school plants department. Or if they're interested in being a teacher, they may work with our teaching and learning department," Windham explained.
Windham said she hopes this program is beneficial for the division and its students.
"We will be able to expose these students to what that career field will look like for them in the future, and help them determine if, indeed, this is a career field they would like to continue to pursue," Windham said.
Windham said the deadline to apply is April 8, 2022. Pangilinan said she hopes this program is successful, so her son can apply in a few years.
"Not everyone is going to go to college, or if they happen to go to college, it's going to instill -- like I said -- that responsibility, as well as get their foot in the door as to what they want to do in the future," Pangilinan said.
Division leaders are also rooting for the chance students could join them as full-time employees in the future. CPS leaders said 62 students have already submitted applications for this new program, and they plan to accept 100 students, in total.
School leaders hope parents will encourage their children to apply and said if any student has issues regarding transportation, the division will help with that.