MPLOY students reflect on summer job experience on program’s last day

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday marked the final day of the summer for MPLOY Youth, the city’s summer jobs program for young people.

“Today is the finale,” said MPLOY Program Manager Joyce Douglas.

There were MPLOY events across the community.

WREG visited the one at Greater Community Temple for high school students.

On the final day, the group discussed career planning and looked back over the past seven weeks.

“At the beginning, I was like, ‘Working with a lot of girls? I don’t think it will work out,'” Douglass High School Junior Jennifer Fletcher recalled.

Fletcher completed her paid MPLOY internship with the Girl Scouts.

Just as MPLOY was launched to combat juvenile problems in Memphis, Fletcher said the MPLOY students at Girl Scouts worked on a campaign to curb violence among girls.

“Show girls there’s other ways than fighting. You can talk it out or have a conversation. You don’t always have to use your fists to fight,” Fletcher said.

The summer program has been a learning experience for everyone, including the city.

“We will be able to start earlier next year, not just recruiting businesses, but also recruiting students,” Douglas said.

Not all students drawn from the city’s lottery system for the program jumped at the chance.

At one point in June, there were about 146 positions open.

The city said it had a short time to build the program.

The Office of Youth Services said it worked continuously to keep spots filled, like when it invited selected students to the fairgrounds to get verified for the program.

At that point, the program had been running for a couple weeks.

Students WREG spoke with Friday said they believed the young people who never answered the city’s call to participate in MPLOY missed out.

“You never know how it may help you in the future,” said Germantown High School senior Brennen Boler.

“Many of the students actually got job offers,” Douglas said.

The city told WREG it would provide a report in August regarding the number of participants in the program.

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