When you’re out and about in Jackson this summer, you’re likely to see a group of young people working hard to clean up the city. Micah Cretsinger, a recent graduate of Jackson High School, is one of them. “This is actually my first job,” Cretsinger said.
It’s all part of the City of Jackson Parks and Recreation Department’s Youth Core Program, which hires local high school and college-age people to make sure Jackson is looking its best. “Sometimes we clean up the streets. Pick up cigarette butts, trash, and some days we do big projects like mulching and weeding parking lots. It really depends on what’s going on that day,” Cretsinger said.
Parks and Recreation Director Kelli Hoover says this is the program’s first year. “It is a great first job experience program. It’s a job skill building program. We are also going to have people come in and work with you on interview skills. How to do a resume, what does it mean to be a skilled worker in the workforce,” Hoover said.
Hoover says reliable summer employment is sometimes hard to come by for local youth, so she’s pleased her department can help people find work and gain important job skills. Jackson Parks and Recreation employs nearly 300 people for part-time work, with the vast majority of that in the summer. Hoover says this program employs 11 people, and she’s already seeing it make a difference. “You’re going to see them in all parts of Jackson. They’re working on beautifying Jackson. They do a great job,” Hoover said.
Being out in the heat and sun all day does make this a tough job sometimes, but Cretsinger say he’s glad to have the opportunity to improve his hometown. “Every day we just come to work knowing we’re doing a good, impactful thing for our community. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better, honestly,” Cretsinger said.
The program is well staffed this year, but those who are interested in participating next summer should contact the Parks and Recreation Department.