Job readiness program prepares, lands students jobs

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A job readiness program in Myrtle Beach is setting up dozens of teenagers for success in the workforce.

More than three dozen students from across Horry County are enrolled in the 8-week program at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center in Myrtle Beach. Instructor Don Weaver has spent the past five years volunteering his time to help the program – and its lessons – flourish.

“We do not deal with soft skills and character in our public schools like we should,” he explained. “I think that what I do fills some of those cracks we don’t address at school.”

Students enrolled in the course are taught a variety of lessons each week – ranging from earning potential to writing resumes, getting references and body language.

Weaver’s track record with teen job placement proves his lessons are effective.

“When we had The Pavilion, NASCAR Speedpark and Myrtle Waves, it easily could’ve been 300, 400, 500 [students placed in jobs],” he explained. “You add Ben & Jerry’s, Wild Water & Wheels, McDonalds and Burger King, Bi-Lo, Food Lion and all the others – it adds up.”

On the night News13 got an exclusive look inside of the program, Weaver brought in more than a half-dozen local businesses to work with students on their job approach and job inquiry skills. Businesses included Wild, Water & Wheels, Johnny Rocket’s, Extreme Pizza, Carolina Quench and Ben & Jerry’s.

One student impressed a manager at Johnny Rockets so much – he was offered a job on the spot.

“[He] started working at Johnny Rockets this past weekend. He called me and told me he made $120 in two days. He was so excited!” Weaver explained.

Dominic Conti, a senior at Myrtle Beach High School, was also offered a position on the spot and in the middle of class with Brightwater Senior Living.

“It really gave me hope, honestly,” Conti said. “It made me feel good that doing well in the class gets you somewhere.”

Weaver told News13 Conti’s attentiveness during a presentation by staff at Brightwater impressed them enough to offer a position at their facility.

Vince Smith, owner of Carolina Quench, told News13 the partnership not only benefits students, but it helps lower turnover at his business, too.

“By the kids taking this initiative and joining the program, it shows you they’re serious about employment and they have the responsibility that they’ll do a good job,” he explained.

Smith says a large number of his employees are teenagers and hiring for summer positions is about to get underway.

“Hiring for the summer – we have to hire the local kids around here, and it’s imperative they have the skills that they’re learning in this program.”

Weaver told News13 three business that met with his students have said they plan to offer jobs to seven students in the next few days.

For more information on the program, contact Weaver at CoachWeaverMB@gmail.com