Teens getting paid for on the job training

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)-  Jacinda Lugo, 18, is not the typical teen.  She has completed all of the required coursed for high school early. Now she's getting on the job training and earning money at the same time.

"I have to learn that everything is not on my call, I have to learn to work with the world because it's not working with me," explained Jacinda

A valuable lesson Jacinda has learned while participating in the "Hired Apprentice" program at Fort Benning. It's designed specifically to help military children get work experience. Kimberly Covington-Collier runs the program on post.

"It's a12-week program for teenagers 15-18. In order for students to participate, they must be dependants of active duty soldiers, retirees, Department of Defense and or contractors," added Kimberly Covington-Collier, program coordinator.

Participants like Jacinda don't get a weekly paycheck. The reward comes at the end of the 12 weeks. But Jacinda is confident this experience will pay off when she lands a real job.

"On a professional level, they're teaching me how to talk.  I'm learning how to deal with different personalities, organizational skills and time management which is a huge one for me," said Jacinda.

The businesses only responsibility is designating a mentor and training the mentees. Adrene Royster is Jacinda's mentor.  Royster is a contract liaison for NAF(none appropriated funds), an outreach program for soldiers and their families.

"Jacinda is young. You have to deal with her schedule some time, but she's good hard worker," said Royster.

This is a partnership between the Army and Kansas State University. The school started Hired Apprentice as a pilot program in 2009. It's not on every military base or post. Fort Benning implemented the program last April. The military provides the administrative arm. KSU pays each participant a $500 stipend if they complete 180 hours of work.

The program is facilitated through the Family Morale Welfare and Recreation Department on post. For more information call FMWR @ 706-545-4626.