Four young men who form the Westchester Workforce Development Academy for Youth took the final step in solidifying their post high school plans as part of the Youth Bureau’s WWDAY Program. Senior students Shariff Grant, Mckiy Hewitt, and Jamie Fernandez enlisted in United States Marine Corp, while senior Patrick Bail is heading to the high seas with the US Navy.
“This is a life changing opportunity for our young people,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “The skills and discipline they learn as a part of this program will carry with them throughout their lives. Hopefully, when they complete their tours of duty in service to our country, they will come back to Mount Vernon and apply those skills locally.”
Sheriff, Jamie and Mckiy will be stationed on Paris Island, South Carolina. They will embark on a 13 week rigorous training program where they will be mentally, physically and academically challenged in preparation of becoming a United States Marine. Twice a week the three young men, along with more than 20 other poolee’s. participate in nearly three hours of physical training to help them prepare for recruit training.
Mckiy will be continuing his post training education in the intelligence field, while Shariff will be shipping overseas to learn the science behind meteorology. Jamie, already showing his leadership capabilities, was selected squad leader of the Recruiting Sub Station (RSS) Westchester. Jamie will enter the field of electronic maintenance after graduation.
All three young men chose STEM careers and credit the WWDAY program and project coordinator, Victoria Vanderberg for their exposure to STEM. “Ms. Vanderberg makes us read Science Times articles and is always keeping us up to date on new careers in STEM, once I tested I immediately looked for a career in a STEM field.” stated Mckiy. “That’s where the money is!” sated Jamie, when asked why he chose a science field. Shariff in agreement stated, “Science and technology especially is not going away, is only getting faster and more advanced, and I want to be in the know.”
Patrick Bail, who enlisted with the US Navy, is pursuing a career in Nuclear Engineering. “I wanted to go to college, but after talking to the recruiters I learned that a college degree is attainable with the Navy, and I get to travel.” stated Patrick. “I can see my life going in a new direction and I am excited!”
WWDAY Program operates throughout the year at Nellie Thornton High School. It is funded through a grant from the Westchester County Office of Workforce Investment/ Westchester/Putnam Workforce Investment Board and has been made possible through a partnership between the City of Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, the Westchester County Executive’s Office and the Mount Vernon City School District. The objective of the WWDAY Program is to provide students who attend Thornton High School and are between the ages 14-18, with a comprehensive program that will enable them to transition into adulthood and gain eventual economic self sufficiency through careers, post-secondary education and/or training.
“We’re working hard to expose our young people to career options that exist to be productive and contributing members of society,” said Mayor Davis. “These young men are just a sample of the dedicated and talented youth living in the city.”
For further information regarding the WWDAY Program please contact the WWDAY/STEM Project Coordinator, Victoria Vanderberg at the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, (914) 665-2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org .