It’s a fact, an unfortunate fact of life that during the summer, if a young person’s not working, sometimes he’s causing trouble. So MPLOY MEMPHIS is a big deal.
Just ask the folks gathered in the FedEx Center at the University of Memphis.
All of them just about finished with school for this year.
Summer is coming, and with it, they hope, is summer employment.
“We’ve been talking about summer youth employment for the last few months,” says Memphis City Council member Ed Ford, Jr, “…especially as we’re getting close to school getting out in the next 30 days or so.”
For the past few years, more young folks would apply for jobs than the city could hire.
And it was only the city that was hiring, until now.
One company, Williams Sonoma says they need at least 500 young men and women for summer work.
Councilman Ed Ford was almost speechless, only saying, “I’m smiling right now.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says this is something that he hopes other businesses will do as well.
There are plenty of young folks who need work, he says, adding, “Williams Sonoma, on their own dime, is going to hire hundreds more people above the 1,200, and that’s where we want to go.”
Summer work is often not glamorous work.
It does give companies a chance to check the students out, to see what they can and can’t do.
Keeping graduates in Memphis is a serious problem. Many will hit the road once they get a diploma in their hands.
Maybe this program will keep some around, Mayor Strickland says. “It is the right thing to do for the young people, to give them something productive to do, the life lessons, the work habits. It’s the right thing for them.”