DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – For decades, Durham has offered work opportunities to youth in the area through the city’s YouthWorks program. 

The program serves those who are between the ages of 14 to 24 and will do so until July 1, 2022.

Participants will be able to work for 80 hours and receive an $800 stipend if they finish the program. They will also undergo two weeks of job-readiness training and then work for 80 hours at an area business. 

The city is focused on industries that have a high demand right now, that includes health sciences, the biotech industry, hospitality, construction and entrepreneurship.  

So far, more than 1,200 youth have applied to participate in the program, and to serve all these individuals, city officials said they need organizations that can offer two weeks of job readiness training to come forward. 

In addition, businesses in these industries are also encouraged to step up and provide internships to these individuals.  

“This program is very instrumental in helping young people see that there are alternatives,” Adria Graham Scott said, the Deputy Director for Durham’s Workforce Development Board. “There are ways to not only make money and support yourself, but there are ways to actually have a future.” 

Duke Health has provided internships to youth in Durham through the YouthWorks program since 2015. 

This summer, it is allowing up to 36 interns to participate in a virtual internship where they will have the chance to learn approximately 50 healthcare professions. 

Right now, Duke Health is anticipating it will need to hire 40,000 more workers by 2027, and said this internship is a good way to help build that talent pipeline. 

“We will need to hire about 8,000 annually, to meet our growth, so having this summer internship program is really helping to build that workforce,” Debra Clark Jones said, the Associate Vice President for Community Health. 

Furthermore, Shea Ramirez owns Sh’Bella Dreams Recreational Center on Shannon Road in Durham, where she also has five other businesses under the same roof. 

For years, her business has brought on interns through the YouthWorks program. She said the interns help her with event planning and marketing on social media. 

“I like working with the young people because they have something to offer,” Ramirez said. “They’re just smart, and they have a lot of gifts and talents. It’s very rewarding and it’s an amazing feeling being able to assist and help mentor the young people, while they are assisting and helping you grow and pursue your business endeavors.” 

Youth participants and program providers have until April 15th to apply for the program and businesses have until May 1st

For more information on where to apply, you can click here.