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Program helps area students plant SEEDS for their futures
August 7, 2013Updated Aug 7, 2013 at 10:25 PM CDTPEORIA, Ill. -- A state funded program is planting a seed into the future for several local students.
They are getting early exposure to careers under a summer employment program.
On Wednesday, Brandon Ruffin, 16, was lending his hand and skills on a project at Infrastructure Engineering in downtown Peoria. The Peoria High School junior wants to be a mechanical engineer.
"The first week they had us like using this program to like design stuff and now she got me designing pipes for a Chicago project,” said Ruffin. “It's kinda hard but it got easier as you learn stuff.”
Ruffin is among 25 local students taking advantage of paid internships with local companies under the Social Educational and Employment Development Services Initiative also called SEEDS.
"They get to experience things that normally they would not get to experience, working with engineering firms, working with an artist, a doctor,” said Kenyatta Fisher of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce.
Over at the Jonathon Romain Art Gallery, four students were helping Romain put in a window in the front of his studio. The task at hand is more labor intense and with not as much focus on the prints inside his massive gallery.
"What I don't think is that they will leave disillusioned about being an entrepreneur and it being easy,” said Romain. “I think they will see that it takes a lot of hard work."
"Being here just exposed me to more art,” said SEEDS participant Malik Gillum. “At first I really didn't like art, but being here I know how to do multiple things now."
For aspiring young artist Kendrick Ingram it's also a chance to get his work critiqued.
"It feels good, I can bring my art and he'll give me pointers on it,” said Ingram. “These paintings tell me that my work got to mean something and it has to have some type of meaning behind it."
Ingram said the internship has left an impression he will paint well into his future.