U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart is experiencing a temporary surge in its workforce. The Summer Hire Program is an annual event that allows dependents ages 14-22 a chance to pick up some real-world experience and a little spending money during the six-week program.
April Petersen, 18, just graduated from high school. Like many of her fellow summer hires, she needed a little coaxing to join the workforce.
“It was really my mom who pushed me into doing it,” she says. “If I was at home, I’d just be sleeping in and playing video games.”
Instead, Petersen reports to the Stuttgart Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation administrative offices every morning at 7:30 a.m. to sort files, shred documents and organize the storage room. Petersen’s supervisor, Catherine Bianco, says Petersen’s contributions extend beyond her office.
“She’s actually been helping not only me, but she’s been helping our Financing Management Office, the Payroll Office, Marketing and the Business Operations Division, so she’s really been a great help,” Bianco said.
Over at the Panzer Community Mail Room, 15-year-olds Kris Allen and Spencer Harding unload truckloads of packages and letters each day. Their supervisor, Brian Richter, estimates that 200 to 300 packages and 500 letters arrive on any given day.
Harding says he was surprised to see so many car and motorcycle parts on the mail trucks. “We get heavy items a lot … it’s more than I expected,” he said.
Like Petersen, both Harding and Allen were ‘volunteered’ by a parent: in this case, their fathers.
“I’m glad he did, because everybody else in my family is making money,” said Allen, who plans to use his paycheck on a video game system or television for his room.
Richter says he’s been working with Summer Hire employees for eleven years.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It gives them real world experience.”
It also gives the busy CMR some real help.
“The crew here is excellent. They’re on top of their game,” Richter said.
Harding added that despite the hard work, he’s glad he signed up.
“It’s fun and you get paid,” he said.
Summer hires earn $5.50 per hour. The program runs through July 29.