PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It is not always easy to find a work, especially in a tough economy. But some lucky young people in Pascagoula have landed city jobs for summer. It is all part of the Urban Youth Corps Program in the city that provides on-the-job training.
Recent high school graduate Christopher Lebatard is part of Pascagoula's new beautification team and he's happy to have a job.
"It pays pretty good just for a starting out job. And I took it so I can have some money when I start at a university," Lebatard said.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation and Pascagoula partnered to provide Lebatard with his first job, along with others on this team.
"We have been mostly pulling weeds right now. And in a little while, we will start painting the pillars under the bridge. Earlier, we went to pick up trash," Lebatard said.
City officials said this program also helps teach young adults the value of hard work.
"It is not easy work. It is outside in the heat and they're pulling out weeds, picking up trash. It is dirty work, but it will be good work for them," Public and Employee Relations Specialist Robin Wood said.
Pascagoula officials hope these new workers also develop job and career skills for the future.
"Transitioning from a teenager to being an adult is not easy. There is a lot to learn about being responsible, and attending work, and being on time, being dependable. So I think a lot of lessons to be learned."
Lebatard couldn't agree more, and he's also happy he is doing something to help his hometown.
"I do feel like I am contributing. No one likes to see trash everywhere, so it is always nice to have a clean area to live in," Lebatard said.
This is an eight week summer program. City officials said they picked beautification because the young people can complete a variety of tasks.