CANTON, Ohio — Picking the right career can be very challenging, but a program in Stark County aims to give young teens a head start.
For the third year in a row, the city of Canton has awarded a $100,000 grant to Stark County Community Action Agency to fund The Youth Career Exploration Program (YCEP).
YCEP is guided by a career academic specialist to help 60 Canton teens, ages 14 and 15, explore and develop career plans.
The teenagers receive help with resume creation and guidance on how to prepare for job interviews. In addition, the teens receive exposure to individuals in different careers.
Amanda Stewart, who oversees the SCCAA program, said the five-week course is geared towards teens in lower to moderate income households and the exposure to career options is impactful.
"It's just to give them an idea of what's out there and for them to shoot for the stars-- that they can do anything or be anything," Stewart said.
Because of the pandemic, the program will be held remotely this year from June 22 through July 17.
All of the students will receive a Chrombook and a weekly stipend. The teens will use the computers to examine various careers and interact with mentors.
Field trips to Ohio colleges, which happened the last two years, will instead be turned into virtual campus visits.
Amarion Massey, 16, attended the program the past two years and said the guidance he received convinced him to pursue a career as a financial executive.
"I think this makes a difference for kids because not a lot of kids at like 14 or 15 know what they want to do, or even have an idea what they want to do," Massey said.
Massey said he's excited about his future and already thinking about giving back.
"If I become a millionaire, I know I will invest in this program because it's something I believe all kids should have the opportunity to have," he said.
Stewart said the program continues to grow in popularity. SCCAA has received about 100 applications. Forty-eight of the 60 available slots had been filled as of Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone seeking information on the program should email Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.