SAVANNAH, GA (May 23, 2016): Members of the public and the local business community are invited to the 4th Annual Savannah Pre-Apprentice Program (SPAP) Match Day Extravaganza. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m. at the Savannah Civic Center’s Johnny Mercer Theater. During this event, pairings between this year’s SPAP youth participants and business partners will be announced, marking the start of the 7-week paid summer work program.

The SPAP will run from June 6 – July 29. Conceptualized in 2013 by Savannah’s City Manager Stephanie Cutter, the program provides participants with job training, life skills, mentoring and academic assistance through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on career experiences with one of the program’s partner businesses.

More than 25 partner businesses are supporting the SPAP in 2016. Registration remains open to additional businesses. At least seven returning business partners registered, including Savannah Lodging, Belford’s Savannah, NorthPoint Hospitality, Coca-Cola, Thunderbolt Marina, the Savannah Chamber of Commerce and the City of Savannah. Business partners will provide apprentices with experiences ranging from sales, finance, maintenance, customer service, office management, archiving and much more.

By the March 31 deadline, the 2016 SPAP applicant pool reached a record of more than 450 youth, an increase of more than 500% since 2015. “This is the largest number of applicants in the program’s history,” said Savannah Impact Program (SIP) Director, Lt. Ramona Famble. “Still, our goal is to serve this community by grooming its next generation professionals through appropriate job placements for all applicants meeting SPAP criterion.”

Qualifying youth are ages 14-17, residents of the City of Savannah or Chatham County and able to devote 20-32 hours per week to assigned jobsites. Prior to site placements, participants also undergo pre-employment screenings and interviews to determine career objectives and job-readiness levels.

“No matter the child’s background – educational, socio-economic – we cultivate their existing skills and find suitable apprenticeships,” said Famble. “So far, we’ve done this for about 450 kids. Applicants who applied after the March 31 deadline were placed on a growing waiting list. To accommodate our waitlisted applicants, we welcome and encourage additional business partnerships.”

Prior to the June 13 Match Day event, SPAP participants and contributors will be acquainted with the program through a series of orientation sessions. Apprentice orientation is set for May 31, June 2 and June 3 at 4 p.m. in the McAlpine Square Mini Station, located at Victory Drive and Wallin Street. Orientation for current and interested business partners is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24 at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Professional Development Center, at 3401 Edwin Street. Also, orientation of SPAP Team Leaders and interns will take place on June 1 at 4:30 p.m. at the SCMPD Professional Development Center.

The SPAP is a partnership between the City of Savannah, SCMPD, and the Chatham County Department of Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Court.