The SummerWorks program in Washtenaw County is a 10-week summer employment and mentorship program that is now accepting applications through March 13.
Students and young adults in the community are recommended to apply if they are seeking career opportunities and mentorships. The program typically sees applicants ranging between the ages of 16-24, and it requires that participants must reside in Washtenaw County for at least a year or be currently enrolled as a student in the area.
The main goal of the program is to create an outlet in which participants will gain and develop professional skills and be able to connect with other young adults in the community.
The program is approximately a 5-month commitment, with orientation beginning in April and internships and mentorships lasting typically through August.
A few program objectives include resume help, career exploration activities, and mock interviews that the participants may use to prepare for their internships and mentorships.
Zoe Erb, the manager of the SummerWorks Program, plays a major role in organizing the activities and creating the policies that are involved.
“We want to be sure we’re giving people a safe place to practice those skills, since you know, they’re not really taught in schools,“ Erb said.
In previous years, participants in the program were guaranteed internship opportunities. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and a more competitive workforce has brought an end to this guarantee, and interviews are now required for these internship opportunities.
“We prioritize people based on if they’ve been here before,” Erb said. “You can come back to the program 3 times, each summer is considered one year.”
Some employees are able to keep their employment after the completion of their internship. Although this is not guaranteed and participants are encouraged to keep that in mind. SummerWorks does have a linked-in group and the program encourages people and businesses to promote any career openings there.
“We hope that [the participants] will utilize their mentors,” Erb said. “All the participants in the program are paired with a mentor and meets with them for 30 minutes each week to talk about whatever it is the participant would like to talk about.”
The mentors were added to the program to help participants feel more involved due to the program going completely virtual since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The professional development leading up to the interviews will be held via Zoom. After this process, in-person meetings will be held at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.
The 2022 application deadline is March 13 and those interested and suited for the program can apply on the program’s website.