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City plans summer internship program

A summer intern program sponsored by the city of Vicksburg is offering local high school and college students an opportunity to get work experience and learn something about city government.

“This is the third year we’ve been able to offer the program,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said. The program was Thompson’s idea to provide opportunities to the students to find work during the summer and to possibly serve as a recruiting tool to get the students to consider coming to work for the city in the future.

He said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have allocated about $50,000 in the city’s fiscal 2017 budget for the program. To participate in the internship program, a student has to be a resident of Vicksburg, be at least an incoming high school senior or a college student, have at least a 2.5 grade point average and be evaluated by a teacher.

“We’ve had over 100 students in the program,” he said. “We’ve averaged about 45 students per year.

“We fill the slots based on the need, and we have different projects going each year. We get with the department heads early and see what’s needed and match the students. That’s how we know how many students we’ll be able to accommodate.”

The students work in the different city departments, including Thompson’s office and Mayor George Flaggs Jr.’s office.

“They’ll be under the direction of the division head,” Thompson said. “We’ll have a student in the Main Street Department and they’ll help out with setting up for promotions and taking down things, and greeting tourists and answering the phones. We’ve had students in the police department and working in the fire department.

“The department head sets the schedule and determines what they’ll be doing.”

In one case, he said, several college students working in the city’s Community Development Department were majoring in community development in college.

“This give them job experience and exposure, even with the college students,” Thompson said. “Sometimes when you graduate, you have a degree, but you never worked before. It gives them something to build on, because most of the students, about 75 percent, have never had a job. We try to teach those things that are important, like coming to work on time, finishing your assignments and working well with others.”

He said the program’s screening program, including an evaluation form that must be filled out by a teacher and signed by a counselor, helps the city get good workers.

Students can apply for an internship until May 10 by going online to the city’s website at vicksburg.org, and download the application and delivering it to the city’s human resources department.

Anyone with questions can call the city’s human resources department at 601-631-3710, or Thompson’s office at 601-634-4507.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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