Erie Insurance has a long tradition of giving back.

One of the latest ways ERIE is doing just that is through Summer J.A.M. (Jobs and More). The Erie, Pennsylvania-based program is designed to help prepare young people ages 16 to 21 for college and careers.

This summer, 138 teens are learning time management, teamwork and communications skills with 44 employers in the community.

Job training the ERIE way

Six Summer J.A.M. students started with ERIE on June 22 for a seven-week program. They’re rotating through different areas, gaining hands-on work experience in Facilities Maintenance, Human Resources and Strategic Marketing. They work 180 hours over the course of the program—which comes out to approximately 25 hours a week.

Kim Reichert, recruiting supervisor, said ERIE became involved with Summer J.A.M. this year to make an impact on young people.

“We want to provide students with real world work experience, help them earn some money and build skills toward education or a career,” Kim said.

During their seven weeks at ERIE, the students meet weekly for “lunch and learn” sessions presented by ERIE recruiters. Topics cover interviewing and workplace etiquette, social media in the workplace, effective workplace communication, resume preparation, insurance careers and ERIE’s internship program.

“It is helping me become independent and learn how to work as part of a team,” student Janiyah Wayne said of her experience. “I learned how to multi-task and challenge myself. I’ve met some great people, too.”

Janiyah credits the program with prepping her for starting college in the fall at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College by helping her improve her writing and computer skills. She’s also getting a head start by taking a class at Behrend one day a week.

“(The program) is teaching me how to manage my time and will be helpful when I start college full time in the fall,” said Janiyah, who plans to study nursing.

ERIE in the news

The young people working at ERIE through the Summer J.A.M. program were recently highlighted in the Erie Times-News.