Summer jobs keep teens away from crime. This program is helping Charlotte’s youth get them.

CHARLOTTE — Summer vacation is underway for some students in the Carolinas, and one program in Charlotte is helping teens shape their future while keeping them out of trouble.

Jakari McIver says she noticed some of her peers heading toward a questionable path. She believes her friends thought they had fewer opportunities in their neighborhood between the W. Sugar Creek and N. Tryon Street corridors.

So, she offered some advice.

“The mayor’s youth employment program is definitely a great opportunity for those are our in area who need a little more resources or more help,” McIver told Channel 9′s Erika Jackson.

McIver, 18, is referring to Charlotte’s Mayor’s Youth Employment Program – or, “MYEP” for short.

The city partners with local businesses to provide summer jobs to teens.

McIver has already worked at engineering and architecture firms – all before graduating high school.

“It’s been the key that opened many doors and then led me to finding the exact path for me,” McIver said.

“They’re getting a feel for how they can have not only an impact in the community, but also understand how their skill sets can really be essential in the workplace,” said Bethany Rodriguez, a manager for MYEP.

Rodriguez told Jackson that since the 1980s, the program has matched thousands of students with summer jobs. Those aged 16 to 18 can learn new skills and financial literacy while earning money.

“Within the Corridors of Opportunity, there is a higher rate of unemployment. We are really excited to see a number of youth from the corridors, interested in building up their career development opportunities,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez’s team is focused on helping teens who live in Charlotte’s underinvested, lower-income areas, known as the six “Corridors of Opportunity.”

Corridors of Opportunity

Research by the firm “Everytown” found violence routinely peaks during summer months, and a study by a University of Chicago professor found teens involved in Chicago’s summer employment program committed fewer violent crimes for at least one year after their jobs ended.

“It’s a way to keep students out of trouble because it is a way for them to find whatever career path they are looking for,” McIver said.

[SEE MORE: Groups forge ahead to help at-risk youth stay out of trouble]Edit info

McIver believes MYEP is making a difference in her neighborhood – as teens spend more time at work instead of on the streets. She hopes they feel the difference in themselves.

“I would say it’s definitely beneficial. I’d say get in now, cause you never know where it will take you,” she said.

If you or your business want to get involved with MYEP, click this link.

(WATCH: ‘Heavy on my heart’: Local group holds march aimed at steering youth away from violence)

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