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High School Job Program Gives Kids Experience and a Paycheck in Bed-Stuy

 A student work program at Boys and Girls High School gives kids work experience.
A student work program at Boys and Girls High School gives kids work experience.
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DNAinfo/Victoria Bekiempis

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A student work program at a Bed-Stuy high school is giving kids work experience along with a steady paycheck.

The work program at Boys and Girls High School guarantees a job for students with good grades and pays them a salary for three-to-six months at a local business.

The program gives the kids experience in a variety of fields, and helps them save up for college or pay off their senior dues, principal Bernard Gassaway said.

"When I was in school, as a high school student, having a job made a hell of a difference to me," Gassaway said. "The idea really is to put them in real world, real life job situations where they can develop skills."

Now in its second year, the job program employs 68 students at Boys and Girls, and costs about $200,000 out of the school's budget, Gassaway said.

Jobs range from bagging groceries at the local Key Food and Foodtown, to working at WBAI radio station, or at a local nonprofit like the Brooklyn Movement Center.

For participating groups, the program is a chance to make a difference in a kids' life, and it could lead to even more opportunities, said Brooklyn Movement Center Executive Director Mark Winston Griffith.

"We're trying to play as positive a role as possible," Griffith said. "It would be great to add that voice to our staff, and use it as an opportunity to build relationships with younger people."

Gassaway said the program will help students build their skills while also building their resume.

"You always hear about schools working with students to get them college- and career-ready," Gassaway said. "The only way I know of to get career-ready is by working."