MPLOY youth get first paychecks as city completes enrollment

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Young people working under the city's MPLOY program got their first paychecks Thursday, the same week the last group of kids started in their jobs.

The city said it has found the young people it needed to fill the remaining 146 empty jobs.

Those positions remained unfilled for weeks, because more than one hundred young people either did not have the required documents to enroll in the program or they did not respond to the city's invitation.

The city drew more names from its lottery system to reach out to additional young people last week.

Thursday, WREG visited Hattiloo Theatre where dozens of MPLOY workers got their first paychecks.

Those young people are getting paid to put on a production of the show Sarafina!.

"Theatre and production is something that I want to do," said MPLOY participant Anniken Farmer, 15.

Since the time the program began last month, MPLOY has had successes and challenges, like trying to fill those 146 jobs.

James Nelson, over the Office of Youth Services, said more than one thousand kids have taken part in MPLOY at some point this summer.

That does not mean all those jobs are filled Thursday.

"There were some young people who decided they did not want to participate and we move on, we keep going," Nelson said.

Nelson said the challenges stemmed from a lack of time to plan.

He said there will be more time next year.

The MPLOY kids at Hattiloo will debut their show in a few weeks.

This summer's MPLOY program ends July 17.