Savannah Pre-Apprentice Program looking for help from businesses - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah Pre-Apprentice Program looking for help from businesses

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

If you live in Savannah, you know about the crime problem.

Nobody seems to have an issue with complaining about the problem, but now the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department is giving you a chance to be a part of the solution.

SCMPD is hosting its fourth Savannah Pre-Apprentice Program for Savannah youth ages 14 to 17. Tuesday morning, staff members and area businesses gathered to try and help recruit other businesses to join the program.

In 2015, the program employed 60 teens. This year, SCMPD is hoping to employ 200 teens. In order for that to happen, businesses need to step forward.

"I think it is a community safety issue because what happens is that children that are neglected and left to their own means will go looking for means to do what they want to do," said Judge LeRoy Burke III, presiding judge of Chatham County Juvenile Court.

Judge Burke has seen firsthand the impact of this program. Many of the teens that come before his bench are then referred to this program and he has seen a huge change.

“I just see a change in the kids that come back. I mean, I see smile on their faces when before it was frowns and scowls," said Judge Burke.
The program is open to anyone age 14 to 17 that live in Chatham County. Those teens are then taught job training, life skills, soft skills. Once they complete that, area businesses take them on, to help them understand the right way to go about things.

"We all need that as we mature and as we grow. We have to have those skills accessible to us, and have those skills in life to succeed in life in general," said Asst. Chief Julie Tolbert, SCMPD.

Diavante Kittles is one of the teens that took part in this program in 2015. He worked over at the Thunderbolt Marina.

"Whatever I put my mind to, I can accomplish that. That is the mindset I have now, I do not care if it’s just riding a bike, I can do whatever I set my mind to," said Kittles. "I have self-worth and I can be what I want to be. That is what I am trying to accomplish now."

Kittles says he was taken out of a possible dangerous situation and taught things you cannot learn on your own.

"If the people in your company are good leaders and good mentors then all that that person that does this program is to grow," said Tracy Thompson-Lee, who works in Human Resources with Thunderbolt Marine.

Thompson-Lee oversaw Kittles as he completed the seven week program.

“A solemn grim look on his face to a wide eyed, grin all the time," said Thompson-Lee.
The participants work an average of 20 hours per week and make minimum wage or more.

If you are interested in participating in the program you can call 912.525.3100 ext.1456 or visit online here.

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