Summer jobs kick starting teen careers

FRESNO, Calif.

Eddie Sandoval-España is one of those participants. The recent high school graduate has been spending his summer working as a bus boy at the "Me-N-Ed's" Pizzeria in River Park. "Instead of taking my first summer after high school and doing all the wrong things, I've been working almost every single day for the past 6 weeks to make money," said Sandoval-España.

Through a new six-week program with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Eddie got the summer job that gives him work experience to put on his resume, and a nice paycheck. "My first paycheck did go to my mom. I spent the first $200 I made to pay our water bill," said Sandoval-España.

"He's learned responsibility, being dependable, being a team player. Having the desire to excel," said Tony Luna, Eddie's manager at "Me-N-Ed's."

The paying jobs would not have been possible without the $200,000 grant given by PG&E earlier this year. "They're earning money, they're gaining real valuable experience. You also have a number of businesses that are getting some help since they essentially don't have to pay for it," said Denny Boyles with PG&E.

The program has helped 54 other teens with the Boys and Girls Club get their foot in the door and experience what it's like having a paying job. "People say it's hard to get a job right now and I'm appreciative that they took time to reach out to young people and help us out," said Flavia Vazquez. She and another student were placed in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship organization.

The program gives students more than just a temporary job but a competitive edge when applying for work. "I'm prepared for a future job in an office," said teen Kristalin Aroni.

While the summer jobs program ends this week, some teens like Eddie have been offered a full-time gig. "I think that's the best thing I got out of this program," said Sandoval-España. "The importance of how much hard work pays off."

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