Gregory Damas says the only work experience he had before he got his first summer job, five years ago, was watering plants at his church, Our Lady of Hope in Logan. Through the WorkReady program, he was placed in the HR department at Comcast.
"I was surrounded by young professionals moving and grooving throughout the city of Philadelphia," Damas said. "Watering plants definitely paled in comparison."
Damas is a WorkReady success story. He talked about his experience at a news conference last week. Now a junior studying finance at Villanova University, he got his own summer job this year in commercial real estate. His early work experience, he says, taught him his mantra.
"I am capable," he said. "I'm allowed to learn and I belong."
The program started in 2003. It's run through the Philadelphia Youth Network using money from the city, Philadelphia Works and private employers. Mayor Jim Kenney says the additional million dollars for the program is an investment.
"It is crucial that we continue to invest in our youth," Kenney said, "and assure they have access to meaningful, paid summer employment."