Right now, thousands of teens around the city are looking for summer jobs. But many will have difficulty landing that first position because they just don't have the work skills even entry-level jobs require.
DeAir Brounson was on track to be one of those teens.
"I was hanging with the wrong crowd, doing things I shouldn't have been doing," he said.
That's when he found St. Charles Youth and Family Services.
Through its Youth Employment Service — or Y.E.S. — St. Charles helps teens break down barriers to employment with a job-focused internship program.
Serving about 50 young men and women at a time, the Y.E.S. program offers three learning tracks including janitorial service, food service and retail. Students get experience on the job and hard skills to list on their resumes.
After the internship, some of them are hired as employees of St. Charles. Brounson now works at the newly opened resale store, RePurpose in the Sherman Park neighborhood.
"Because St. Charles helped me, I could be a valuable asset to another company," Brounson said. "It feels right."
Click the podcast player to hear more from Brounson and St. Charles Vice President Scott Carpenter.