New initiative brings students jobs at ETHS


Lia Kelly

Young males in the program stand with their mentors on Oct. 26.

Louise Bond, Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, the participants of the Black Male Initiative Job’s Program met their supervisors and sponsors and received their job responsibilities for the year.

The program was created by a team of administrators led by Chief Human Resources Officer Toya Campbell as a part of the Year of the Black Male initiative.

“[Eric Witherspoon] challenged the adults in the buildings to come up with ways to serve all students equitably, and equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Equitably is important,” Campbell said.

The goal of the program is to give black male students an in-school opportunity to gain not only important life skills, but also experience functioning in a professional environment by assigning them jobs throughout the school, according to Campbell.

“We feel that oftentimes black males are undereducated, underemployed, and over-incarcerated. So it is important in the jobs program that they actually know how to enter into the work world because part of being underemployed is not knowing how to work,” Campbell said.

Campbell worked closely with Chief Financial Officer Mary Rodino, Chief Technology Officer Mike Corcoran, Assistant Human Resources Officer Yolanda Hardy and Assistant Chief Financial Officer Kendra Williams to create 18 student jobs that span across many departments within the school.

“We want to be able to do a couple of things. Introduce a real job and a real work world. They will be evaluated, they had to fill out paperwork and they’ll have to fill out a timesheet,” Campbell said.

The team worked hard to create jobs that will lead participants to develop useful skills. Some of the student jobs include working in nutritional services, assisting at school events, working with auditorium tech, operating the video board and scoreboard for sports games and assisting in East Library, ChromeZone, ceramics studios or the Hub.

“We’re trying to make sure it isn’t just busy work,” Campbell said. “It’s something they could really sink their teeth into, and some skills they can really learn and take away so that when they go to the next job, it’ll help them develop resumes.”

Student participants in the program will have a supervisor who will oversee their day-to-day work and write their quarterly evaluations. Participants also have a sponsor who initially recommended them for their job position; sponsors will continue to check in with students occasionally throughout the school year.

“I think [the quarterly evaluations] will be really good feedback for the students to grow upon, and then they can actually apply that into real life working situations… I think that’s going to help them for competitive employment,” Cecilia Rice, special education teacher and sponsor for five students in the program, said.

Brian Stone, a Business Practicum and Personal Fin./Business Management teacher, recommended seven students to the jobs program and will be their sponsor for the year.

“My hope is that they find a passion in what they’re doing and it gives them a career path,” Stone said.

The students will work during their free periods or after school depending on their jobs.

Junior Luke Thorpe will be working as the student-tech operator of the auditorium. His responsibilities will include working sound, lights and staging for events hosted in the Upstairs Theatre, Little Theatre and Auditorium.

“I’m trying to learn important skills and about the equipment,” Thorpe said. “I’m just excited for it to be honest. I just want to find out what’s it all about.”

Campbell hopes that this program will continue and expand beyond this year.

“We’re hoping to get out any kinks so we can continue the program. It’s not just a one and done,” Campbell explained. “I’d like to do this every year and maybe open it up to other groups depending on what our initiatives are and what we see the needs of the students are.”