Inside California Education: Summer at City Hall

♪♪ (Dogs barking ) Gina: The Front Street
Animal Shelter is the city of Sacramento’s
municipal shelter. We’re an open shelter, which
means everything that comes into our doors we
have to accept. At the end of the day, it’s
about getting animals out of the shelter. It’s wet noses out the
door, and that’s our goal, that’s our mission. Christina: Eleven thousand
animals pass through here each year which means
this shelter “Stack those there.” is always looking for a
little extra help. Gina: When the summer interns
at City Hall program started we were one of the first
divisions in the city to bring them on. I don’t know where they
are getting these kids, but we have been
incredibly pleased and, frankly, really
impressed by their maturity. Christina: Summer at
City Hall sends dozens of teenagers out into the
real world to get hands-on experience working for
city departments and government agencies. The hope? These teens will someday
consider their own career working in public service. Nina: The program started
in Sacramento with 30 kids through a partnership
between the city and the school district. And now we have Elk
Grove, Yuba City, Oxnard and Moreno Valley. Cities are attracted to this
because they see the need to grow a diverse a
more workforce, seeing that they have a lot
of retirements coming up. And then they’re also
worried about the level of civic engagement in
their communities. Christina: Along
with the civics lesson, the teenagers learn what
it’s like to have a job. Neha: We went
over how to act, like your attitude when
you’re in the workforce. Like, rather than being
casual as if you were with your friends, like
be more respectable. Be more formal. Mai: And they also went
over how we dress because we’re in the shelter
where we’re going to be at. And um I see myself and like
actually being able to help out with customers,
answering phone calls. Christina: The internship
is a major component of the Summer at City Hall program
– now in its sixth year here in Sacramento. But it wasn’t always easy to
find work for these teens. Jay: People were
kind of hesitant. It’s like, “I don’t know
what to do with these kids.” And we didn’t want kids just
doing filing and running around to get coffee. We wanted the kids
to have a real job. Christina: Sacramento City
Council member Jay Schenirer came up with the concept for
Summer at City Hall while campaigning for his seat. Jay: I was walking
neighborhoods and I would see young people
and they’d say, “What are you doing
here?” And I would say, “I’m running for city
council.” And they would have no idea
what that meant. And so it really brought
forth to me the need to do civics education
for our young people. And so that really hatched
the idea for Summer at City Hall. These are real-life skills. I’m not like trying to
reduce this down for high school students. Christina: Summer at City
Hall kicks off the day with students gathered in
the historic chambers of Sacramento’s old City
Hall to get a lesson in how things really
work in government. People, money, time. Everybody say, “People.”
People. “Money.” Money. “Time.” Time. Ivan: City Hall is
pretty impressive. Seeing the mayor and the
legislation happen is pretty impressive. Amy: Yeah, sitting in the
rooms where they actually do the meetings and finding out
there are two city halls, not just one. Michael:: I think the
location is really important. I think any time you take
students outside of the classroom and kind of
change their environment, you actually get a different
reaction from kids. And for me doing it in
historic council chambers is almost like the best
classroom you could possibly ever have. It’s important that you
guys break this work up. It’s what you
want teaching to be. These kids are
definitely motivated, these are the go-getters
of our kids in the city. Christina: Students say
they’re also motivated by the $300 dollar stipend that
students earn at the end of the seven-week program. Neha: That’s very important. Especially to me, I
don’t know about you. My dad is from a
low-income family. Like, he’s a stereotypical
Indian taxi driver so he’s the only person working
in my family of five. I have two little brothers. So it’s going to
be very important, considering college and
other financial needs I’ll have in the future. Mai: I also
agree with her too. I also come from a low income
family too, so I also want to be able to like use the $300
dollars to help out with like my family and also deal with
like school related things too. Because I don’t always want
to like ask my parents to like pay for my a school
related things because I always feel bad
that I have to. Christina: Along
with the money, the high school students get
free public transit passes to get them to-and-from
their internships each afternoon. Michael: The
students do need to, learn the responsibility of
being able to get around the city on their own. We want to teach them about
professionalism and being to places on time. We do have
at-risk kids here, we do have kids with
financial issues and the fact we can support them to
get these bus passes so they don’t pay for them
themselves so they actually are a little more motivated. Nina: You know, we’re
not targeting just your straight-A students, we
really are trying to reach out to young people who
wouldn’t otherwise have this experience, who are
disconnected and need to be engaged in their community. Christina: One of the ways
the program does that is through service days,
cleaning up area parks. Jay: This is McClatchy
park, it’s in Oak Park, which in my district. We want them to understand
on the ground what it is. We have park service workers
and park rangers out here with them. So it’s a good experience
for them doing that. Knowing that it’s not
just book learning. Amy: It’s hard working
outside because we’re in the weeding, so we’re
not in the shade, and stuff it’s like
it’s getting hot. But we’re doing our best and
we’re cleaning the community so when people come
to the park and stuff, it will be clean for them. Ivan: Yeah, overall, a
better experience for the families here. Christina: Organizers of
Summer at City Hall received a state grant to expand
this program to another five cities in 2017. And they hope to make
it statewide by putting together an online
toolkit for any city to use. Jay: I want all
of my colleagues, all the city staff to really
be reminded every day why we are there. What we need to do
for young people. Young people a lot of times get
left out of the conversation. Gina: I often think, so
here’s a young person who may become rich and famous
and remember their fine time with us at the shelter
and be philanthropic as they are adults. Perhaps they will teach
their children about the proper caring and
loving of animals. It’s growing future
leaders in the animal world. Jay: As we look towards
the future work force of the city and the need for
a diverse work force, these are the young people
that are going to fill that need and we really need
to take care of them. ♪♪ Anncr: Internships are
the modern day version of apprenticeships. In the trade guilds of
11th century Europe, an apprentice would work
alongside a master craftsman to learn a skill
like printmaking. These apprenticeships
started around the age of 16 and could last
for several years. Apprentices would then
graduate to journeyman and start earning better wages.

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