Spartan Academy Students Receive Valuable Job Training
Camelot’s Spartan Academy in Richmond, VA, like many Camelot programs, is placing more and more of an emphasis on workforce training. The idea is to prepare students for jobs as they consider their employment opportunities and options after high school. In keeping with that theme, several students will soon be taking classes to become certified lifeguards.
“What we’ve been telling students is, whatever you choose to do, college or some other path, we want to prepare you for the workforce,” said the school’s executive director, Ray Strickland. “This particular program allows our students to get a summer job, begin making an income, and become a certified lifeguard.”
After passing the required courses and obtaining their state certification, students will be eligible to work at pools, watching over swimmers and keeping them safe. The city is offering job placement assistance, including possible opportunities at YMCA’s and city-run centers. Students would earn about $10 an hour over the summer as lifeguards. Not all of these kids enter the program as great swimmers, but Mr. Strickland says that skill will develop with experience.
“As with all things, if you are not exposed to something, you don’t have the opportunity to strengthen that skill. When you look at the inner city, it’s rare that you will see a lot of pools. They go with what they know and what’s available to them, like basketball and football. And now, thanks to this opportunity, they will know swimming and lifeguarding.”
“We are assisting all of our students with a nine-week program where they go through different trainings with us at school,” Strickland said. “They learn resume building; we help them with job applications and even how to dress for an interview. Since most of our kids don’t have the means to go out and buy the proper clothes to wear at an interview, we operate an interview dress closet on campus and provide interview clothes to students as a part of our program.”
Spartan Academy’s Director of Student Services, Quanisha Grimes, is spearheading the program with Richmond’s Parks and Recreation Aquatics Director.