City to offer internship scholarship opportunities

Published 11:55 am Sunday, April 6, 2014

Current seniors and juniors in Vicksburg will have the opportunity to earn scholarship money or a job or internship with the city in upcoming months.

Vicksburg’s South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson is putting the word out about the Mississippi Municipal League’s scholarships as well as two programs the city is preparing for current students.

“I’ve always been an advocate for education and its importance to the community,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who took office last year, is a member of the Youth, Education and Family committee with the National League of Cities.

He said giving students a broad array of options for employment would be beneficial to Vicksburg.

“With most people, I think somebody had to open a door to help us out,” he said.

Thompson encouraged graduating seniors to apply for one of three $2,000 MML scholarships.

“All three have different criteria,” Thompson said.

The MML General Scholarship is open to all high school seniors, while the MML Limited Scholarship and the Mississippi Municipal Service Company Limited Scholarship is open to children or grandchildren of municipality employees.

“One of the essays is about why they should study government, but you don’t have to plan on being a political science major to apply,” he said.

While the MML scholarships could help graduating seniors pay for school, Thompson said he hopes a summer jobs program and a year-long internship with the city will give current high school students a way to get experience on the job.

“It’s kind of a catch-22 because a lot of employers want experienced applicants and you can’t get experience if you can’t get a job,” he said.

The program mimics a similar program through the state Department of Employment Security.

Last summer, 27 teens served internships in various clerical offices inside the Warren County Courthouse as part of that program.

Though the details of the MML program are not settled, Thompson said he expects the city to bring in between 15 and 25 rising seniors to work in various departments based on need.

“We want to make sure we have suitable work for them to do and they’re not just sitting around,” he said. “We’re going to see which departments have some needs and will hopefully be able to match them with some of the students’ interests.”

The program will be about eight weeks during June and July and will give each student about 25 hours of work per week.

“For instance, there are students that work with Channel 16 (the Vicksburg Warren School District’s broadcasting arm) and here at the city, with TV 23, we can use a skilled cameraman,” Thompson said. “It starts with getting opportunities.”

For the 2014-15 academic year, the city is also preparing an internship program for

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a paid internship, but it gives us the chance to bring some local students into the city and possibly help us recruit younger people who will be the workforce in the future,” he said. “Who knows? We may even have the next mayor.”

To apply for the 2014 MML Scholarship program, visit www.mmlonline.com or call 601-353-5854.

For more information on the summer jobs program and the city’s internship program, contact Thompson’s office 601-634-4507.