MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Four Westchester Workforce Development Academy for Youth students are leaving Mount Vernon to join the U.S. armed forces.
As part of the Youth Bureau’s WWDAY Program, senior students Shariff Grant, Mckiy Hewitt and Jamie Fernandez enlisted in Marine Corps, an senior Patrick Bail is joining the Navy.
“This is a life changing opportunity for our young people,” said Mayor Ernest D. Davis. “The skills and discipline they learn as a part of this program will carry with them throughout their lives. Hopefully, when they complete their tours of duty in service to our country, they will come back to Mount Vernon and apply those skills locally.”
Grant, Hewitt and Fernandez will embark on a 13-week basic training program at Parris Island, South Carolina. Hewitt will continue his post-training in the intelligence field, while Grant will be shipping overseas to learn meteorology. Fernandez was selected squad leader of the Recruiting Sub Station Westchester. He will enter the field of electronic maintenance after basic training.
All three young men chose STEM careers and credit the WWDAY program and project coordinator, Victoria Vanderberg for their exposure to STEM, according to a release.
“Ms. Vanderberg makes us read Science Times articles and is always keeping us up to date on new careers in STEM, once I tested I immediately looked for a career in a STEM field.” stated Hewitt. “That’s where the money is!” said Jamie, when asked why he chose a science field.
“Science and technology especially is not going away, is only getting faster and more advanced, and I want to be in the know," Grant said.
Patrick Bail, who enlisted with the US Navy, is pursuing a career in Nuclear Engineering. “I wanted to go to college, but after talking to the recruiters I learned that a college degree is attainable with the Navy, and I get to travel.” stated Patrick. “I can see my life going in a new direction and I am excited.”
The WWDAY Program operates throughout the year at Nellie Thornton High School. It is funded through a grant from the Westchester County Office of Workforce Investment/ Westchester/Putnam Workforce Investment Board and has been made possible through a partnership between the City of Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, the Westchester County Executive’s Office and the Mount Vernon City School District.
“We’re working hard to expose our young people to career options that exist to be productive and contributing members of society,” said the mayor. “These young men are just a sample of the dedicated and talented youth living in the city.”
For further information regarding the WWDAY Program please contact the WWDAY/STEM Project Coordinator, Victoria Vanderberg at the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, 914-665-2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org .