Deniqua Mitchell didn’t exactly expect to spend her summer dissecting lab rats.
When the Cedar Shoals High School sophomore learned she would be working at the College of Pharmacy as part of the Young Dawgs summer apprenticeship program, she thought it would be more like working at one of the local drugstores than doing the clerical and other lab-related tasks supervisor and mentor Vivia Hill-Silcott assigned her.
Still, she said the rat dissection was her favorite part of the eight-week pilot program, where she learned to file articles, enter data and plan a luncheon.
Designed to teach job skills to local students, the Young Dawgs program partnered UGA with area high schools to place 21 students, incoming high school freshmen through juniors, in jobs across campus ranging from scanning faculty correspondence from the 1970s to repairing computers.
In its first year at UGA, the Young Dawgs program is part of the Junior Youth Apprenticeship Program, which began three years ago as a partnership between the Clarke County School District and Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services.
Tom Gausvik, associate vice president for Human Resources, said that he was glad that UGA could get involved with the community through this program.
“We’re looking at our future,” he said. “We’re going to retire half of our employees within the next 10-15 years and from a business standpoint we want to make sure we have qualified workers. So one way to do that is increase the graduation rate in our local school district. This program helps build on that. Plus, it’s a fun thing to do.”
The program will continue in the fall, when high school juniors and seniors will work half a day for course credit. Currently, Human Resources is working on placing 40 students in departments across campus based on their career interests.