Teens Earn Money While Learning Tech In Summer Camps


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) – Teens who earn a spot at a tech-based summer camp could earn money to learn job skills. YouthForce the camps offer skills in welding, engineering, cooking and criminal justice. High school participants must pass an interview process for a limited number of places in practical camps in East Tennessee. This is a project organized by the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley in cooperation with the Pellissippi State Technical Community College, funded by a state contract.

All interested participants can probably win a place in an online virtual training course for general job skills such as successfully completing a job interview. Xavier Bridges, Deputy Director of YouthForce, said: “We try to offer at least an opportunity to acquire soft skills training so that they learn the level of communication, that they learn the interview skills, that they ‘They learn the challenges in the workplace, so they try to learn those skills. “

Former participant Caleah Flemmings was referred as a college student to attend a previous cybersecurity camp. She said it had put her on the path to technical interests. “I kind of felt like, oh, I was going to sit in the classroom and just learn what a computer is and how it works. But I got to do a lot of practical things, which was really fun! “

Flemmings said she had the opportunity to take a computer apart and put it back together, as well as learn about 3D printers. “We actually made things with 3D printers, like little rockets.”

Bridges said that after an interview process, candidates selected to attend the camps have the opportunity to earn $ 8 per hour. YouthForce wants to motivate young people as much as possible to devote their time to acquiring skills. “It often happens that children don’t want to be a part of something because they lack work. I did not have to miss this experience which was going to help them in the long term, because they are receiving this salary. “

The technical camps for engineering and computer science are led by engineer Andy Polnicki, who is in charge of Megalab on the Pellissippi campus at Strawberry Plains Pike and I-40. He promotes the scientific process and analytical thinking with projects created in a playful way, like rockets built from bottles.

“Part of summer camp is allowing students to gain knowledge and then fail. As they fail when trying to figure out how much water to put in the rocket, they begin to realize through trial and error that there is a fair amount of water and a right amount of air in the rocket. rocket, ”he said.

YouthForce summer camps include:

  • Cosmetology from June 15 to 17
  • Culinary from June 22 to 25
  • Raspberry Pi July 13-15 and June 20-22 (must attend biweekly)
  • Welding from July 13 to 15
  • Nursing care from July 20 to 22
  • Criminal justice July 20-22
  • Engineering July 13 – 15

The camps are an effort to inspire teens to realize many possibilities for more education and a promising future career. Flemmings is at a point where she is interested in several technical areas. “I’m mainly interested in aerodynamics, coding, computer science … and zoology.”

“These are opportunities that are really going to pay off in the long run,” said Bridges.

For students in Grades 9 to 12 who wish to apply for a place now, they can text Xavier Bridges for an interview at 865-310-7929.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.


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