A luncheon was this afternoon for graduates of the Mobile County Job Internship Program, which this year gave 55 young adults a taste of the demands to today’s workforce, and in some cases, led to actual employment.

The luncheon, held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Visitors and Convention Center, featured speaker Don Keeler, Vice President of Human Resources at Austal USA.

Mobile County Job Internship Program

Mobile County Job Internship Program

“We asked our business leaders to test the mettle of these young people; to give them meaningful work that will challenge them and also add value to the businesses,” said Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood. “This is personal development and workforce development and everyone turns out a winner.”

The value-added formula for local businesses brings increasing numbers of them into the program, with about 50 participating this year.

Some highlights of their 2015 internship work include: streamlining an engineering process to cut costs, working in financial investments, two interns working on engineering projects, working on the nursing floor in administration creating a database and re-programming a local system.

The five-week program, coordinated by Spherion Staffing Services and Workshops Etc., started in June with one week of intensive job readiness training followed by four weeks of on-the-job performance.

Youth participation in the program is competitive, requiring a personal essay, a 2.0 grade point average, recommendations, interviews, a background check and drug testing. Youths, ages 17 to 22, come from all corners of the county and a variety of schools ranging from local high schools to Harvard.

“This is one way to get our talented and deserving youths into the workforce when experience is a requirement,” said Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson. “At the same time, we hope to develop the workforce to better meet the needs of our local companies.”

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl said the internship program is yet another piece in getting our young people ready to enter the workforce.

“Hopefully these experiences will lead these young people back to Mobile when they are making their career choices,” he said.

The program is headed by the Mobile County Commission, but is a partnership with Mobile Works, PNC Bank and the University of South Alabama.