WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Students are putting their best foot forward, as a new partnership is helping more students get jobs. 

The Greater Wichita YMCA is going on its 14th year of running its job prep program. 

This year will be different, as Wichita Public Schools will be partnering up with the YMCA. The program typically serves 80 students, but the partnership will expand it to 200 students. 

The Greater Wichita YMCA Senior Program Director, Tyrone Baker, said it helps teens get experience. 

“It is a program that teaches kids how to get a job, but most importantly, how to keep a job,” said Baker. “It teaches those kids about eye contact, the handshakes, how to sit in the interview, the questions to ask them in an interview so, just teaching them those life skills right there will take them on to help them further in life.”

Shamara Johnson went through the program in 2015. 

“It helped me hit the ground running,” said Johnson. “I had no idea what to expect, but then, of course, getting here and realizing all the resources they provided, it was great, and I never felt like oh, I don’t want to go, like it was a chore, I always felt like I learned something every day.”

The course helps teens find jobs, submit applications, prepare for the interview, manage money, and even gain first aid and CPR skills. 

Johnson said she is now set up to be an account manager once she graduates this year from Wichita State University. 

“It really set me up to be successful in college and now, have an internship and now that lead to a full-time position,” said Johnson. 

Baker said he’s proud to see previous students succeed and hopes it continues growing from here. 

“I am super proud to really kind of see what the Wichita YMCA program is doing and continues to do,” said Baker. 

Job prep classes meet for two hours in the evening, once a week, for 12 weeks. It begins on Feb. 7. Teens ages 15 to 17 will participate in the job prep classes at the YMCA branches. The sessions at the Wichita high schools are for students ages 16 to 17.

The high schools used for the courses are North, South, West, Southeast, Education Imagine Academy, and Heights High School.

Johnson said it’s something all teens should look at signing up for.

“At first, it’s like why would I do this, being young, you don’t really understand the value that it’s going to have, but just make the commitment,” said Johnson. “It’s going to change you, it’s going to set you up for success, and everything you do going forward, so I think it’s really important to just take that step initiative, even when you’re young and just make it happen.”

It is a free program. The deadline for applications is Jan. 24, 2022. Those applications can be found here.

Businesses can become a part of the Job Prep program. Organizations can contact director Nicole Hernandez at nicole.hernandez@ymcawichita.org or 316-776-8179.