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(Enlarge) Tayler Creek, (right), 17, a participant in the HIRED! Apprentice Program, plays basketball with Jahahgi Romeu, 14, at the Youth Center. Tayler is one of 30 youths who are working in the program this summer.

Five days a week, Tayler Creek begins his day at the Youth Center at 6 a.m.

The 17-year-old assists the facility's youth counselors in supervising children enrolled in the Child, Youth and School Services program, periodically completes paperwork, serves meals and helps clean the kitchen.

Tayler, son of Brian Creek, a retired Air Force service member, and Shirl Creek, an employee at the National Security Agency, said he enjoys his job.

"I really like it. Working with kids is really fun," said Tayler, who will attend Penn State University in the fall. "When I come here, it doesn't feel like a job. I'm having fun."

Tayler is one of 30 youths ages 15 to 18 participating in the CYSS HIRED! Apprentice Program, which began July 2 and runs through Sept. 23.

The 12-week program provides hands-on work experience for teens at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation organizations on post under the supervision of an adult manager.

To participate, youths must be eligible for CYSS programs; have a 2.0 grade point average; complete a police background check; and complete three workforce preparation trainings, two post-secondary education trainings and one financial management training.

The apprenticeship is offered 48 weeks per calendar year. Youths can participate for up to three years.

Teens who complete one term are eligible to receive a $500 stipend from a partnership between the Army and Kansas State University. Within three years, participants can earn up to $4,000.

"The program gives these teens insight into what it's like to have experience in the workforce and to learn how FMWR organizations work," said James Dey, CYSS workforce preparation specialist.

Youths enrolled in this summer's program are working at the Youth Center, School Age Center, Family Pet Care Center, Child Development Centers I and II and the Lanes.

The teens must commit to work 15 hours within a seven-day period for a total of 180 work hours per apprenticeship term.

Matthew Wise, supervisory program specialist at the Youth Center, said six teens are participating in the HIRED! Program at the facility this summer.

"It seems like they're all working out," Wise said. "It's nice to have an extra set of eyes supervising the children."

Dey said that this year, for the first time during orientation, participants were required to work on three to four of the training modules that are required for CYSS employees to complete in order to work for the Army.

This was implemented, Dey said, to help teens understand the high standards CYSS staffers must meet to fulfill their job responsibilities.

Aliyah Green, a junior at Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore County, is working at the Family Pet Care Center.

The 16-year-old helps the staff wash, feed and clean up after the dogs, cats and other pets at the center. She also spends time playing with the animals.

"I love pets," said Aliyah, daughter of Roland Green, a retired Soldier. "I have a dog of my own."

Aliyah, who hopes to become a cosmetologist, said she likes her job because she is busy every day.

Kim Taylor, manager of the Family Pet Care Center, said she hopes the facility's five HIRED! Apprentices learn what it's like to serve the military community.

"You feel good about helping people," she said.

Although it is his last term in the program, Tayler said he is grateful for the experience.

"I feel kind of lucky and honored to be in the position I'm in," he said. "Most kids don't get this kind of opportunity."

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