For participants in the City of Pensacola’s Summer Youth Intern Program, it’s never too early to start building a career.
Jarvis Andrews is only 19 years old, but he just wrapped up his second summer working with Public Works and Facilities through the paid internship program, which he is hopeful will ultimately lead him to a career at the city. Andrews said he was drawn to Public Works because of the hands-on nature of the work, whether it’s working on traffic signals, being out in the field with road crews, working in the sign shop, or just learning something new from his supervisors.
“I like doing all different kinds of new things and learning new things that I didn’t know about, and I felt like this was a good job to teach me,” said Andrews, a Booker T. Washington High School graduate.
Andrews was one of 21 local youth who spent their summer gaining real-world job experience in a variety of City of Pensacola departments through the paid internship program, learning valuable skills as they prepare to enter the workforce. Interns spent eight weeks working with a specific city department, not only learning from city employees in the work environment, but also engaging in a variety of hands-on projects.
Traffic Electrical Control Traffic Supervisor Mathew Edge, one of Andrews’ supervisors, praised his positive attitude, strong work ethic and willingness to learn. Edge has worked for the city for over 19 years, and he encouraged Andrews to pursue a career at the city in the future.
“The sky’s the limit,” Edge said. “As much as he wants to learn, he can keep going up as long as he keeps a great attitude.”
Second-year intern Mallory Bell worked for City Council after spending last summer at the Pensacola Police Department, which she said gave her great insight into the importance of teamwork between city departments. Bell is going into her sophomore year at the University of West Florida as a criminal justice major, with a goal of working in law enforcement.
“From last year working with the police department, it really sparked my interest even more,” Bell said. “And this year, it really led me to see how the city and police department work together. It’s not just a one-man team – it takes everybody working together as a team.”
Bell said she enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at City Council through her internship this summer, working with fellow City Council intern Jessica De to learn about councilmembers’ goals for social media and engaging with their constituents.
“I feel like that was the best part, was to see not only from the outside but a different point of view from the inside,” Bell said. “They’re not just there for the politics, but they’re there because it’s their community they grew up in and are passionate about.”
About a dozen city departments participated in the Summer Youth Intern Program, including the City Administrator’s Office, City Council, Community Redevelopment Agency, Finance, Housing, Parking, Parks and Recreation, Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola Police Department, Port of Pensacola, Public Works, and Sanitation and Fleet Management.
Pensacola International Airport intern Cielee Hollon, also a second-year intern, said the airport internship was a perfect fit for her since she is double majoring in flight operations and aviation management at Delta State University in Mississippi. Hollon plans to be a pilot, and the internship program provided her an opportunity to experience airport operations at a young age.
“I’m going to school to be a pilot, but being able to see the other side of things on the ground has definitely opened my eyes to all the different operations in an airport, rather than just the flying side of things,” Hollon said.
Hollon said the intern program has been beneficial not only for the knowledge and experience she’s gained, but it was also instrumental in helping her secure several college scholarships.
“I’m just really glad that this is an opportunity that I have, because it definitely broadens my horizons for the future,” Hollon said. “It allows me to learn more every day, and it’s a great way to spend my summer.”
Mayor D.C. Reeves recognized summer interns at a luncheon and awards ceremony on Friday, July 28, marking the conclusion of the 2023 City of Pensacola Summer Youth Intern Program.
"Providing opportunities like this for young people is so important to help them develop valuable workplace skills and decide what career path they're interested in pursuing," Mayor Reeves said. "These interns chose to spend their summer break working and learning new skills, which is a testament to their work ethic and leadership. I have no doubt that they have bright futures ahead of them, and I hope their experience with the City of Pensacola will play a role in helping them accomplish their goals."
For information about future opportunities with the Summer Youth Intern Program, stay tuned to the City of Pensacola website.