WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - The City of West Memphis debuted a new program Monday aimed at employing teens to help them not only earn money but also learn life skills.
One hundred teens are now working for the City of West Memphis and local businesses to put cash in their pockets. A summer youth jobs program was a promise of Mayor Marco McClendon during his campaign for mayor. On Monday, the mayor delivered.
“We’re grooming the leaders of tomorrow today. We are going to keep them here and they are going to be our secret weapon to make West Memphis grow,” said McClendon.
Days after announcing the program in June all 100 spots were filled. The program is made possible in part by Southland Casino Racing’s donation of $25,000.
The program is giving 17-year-old Anthony Boyd, who is new to the city, an opportunity over the next six weeks to work with the West Memphis Police Department.
“I seen it was a great opportunity for me to get into the field of work that I want to do when I get older. I want to be a police officer when I grow up. So I was like why not start now,” said Boyd.
The teens will earn $10 an hour working for various city departments like utilities, animal control, the fire department, even City Hall. They’ll spend Fridays in the classroom learning about managing their money and giving back to the community.
“I hope to get a great experience with the police officers that I will work with and hopefully get some Intel on what I will be doing in the future,” said Boyd.
The program is part of Mayor McClendon’s call for a renaissance in West Memphis.