When Jaileel graduated from John Swett High School last year, he had never held a job. Today, he’s working at an event staffing company and he says he owes his current employment to the Earn and Learn summer jobs program. He says his internship at East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) observing and working alongside journey level instrument technicians, “…taught me how to be a hard worker, listen more and be responsible.”

Earn and Learn is a program of the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board, part of the consortium of local workforce development areas known as EASTBAY Works. Jaileel’s job, and many others, was made possible by a $30,000 donation from Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery to pay the wages of 20 youth for summer work experiences. Students worked at EBMUD, East Bay Regional Parks District and the Contra Costa County Libraries. Phillips 66 Communications and Public Affairs Manager Paul Adler states, “Phillips 66 is proud to partner with Earn and Learn East Bay which provided summer jobs, internships and hands-on, real-world learning experiences for youth in Rodeo and Crockett. We look forward to continuing our work with the Workforce Development Board, John Swett Unified School District and Supervisor Federal Glover’s Youth Summit to promote this program for our community.” 

The success of the 2015 Earn & Learn East Bay effort, which netted more than 250 jobs for young people now sets the bar for a loftier goal of 500 such experiences in 2016. EBMUD Construction and Maintenance Superintendent, Antonio Martinez says, “Personally, I believe in any program that exposes youth to career opportunities and work environment. After the program completion, I know my staff feels the same. After 30 days of internship, the young man who was assigned to EBMUD’s East Area benefited through building relationships, getting career advice, direct coaching, and actual work experience. He said to us that this was a life changing experience for him.” 

The other members of the EASTBAY Works consortium, Alameda County and the cities of Oakland and Richmond, also manage youth employment programs and sponsor summer jobs efforts to give young people access to entry level jobs and opportunities for life-long employment. Says Jaileel, “I’m so lucky I got to participate and the experience definitely helped prepare me to get a job. I hope it continues so that other kids can learn like I did and have opportunity.”