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PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Until this summer, teenager Abdul Parker had never had a paying job.

But Parker, 18, son of a Defense Department civilian working at Camp Carroll in Waegwan, is now getting not only a paycheck but also entry- level job experience that he believes will put him in good stead when he eventually starts a career.

He’s one of 86 students in the U.S. Army community in southeastern South Korea who’ve found jobs through the Army’s Area IV summer-hire program, now in its fifth season.

It’s open to students ages 14 to 22 whose parents are servicemembers or government civilians.

“This is like the first job I’ve had with a paycheck,” said Parker, who’s been doing office work 9-to-5 since July 28 at the 307th Signal Battalion at Camp Carroll. “Usually, I’m just working around the house having gardening work with other people.”

The students work five days a week for four weeks at $5 an hour — $800 is the before-tax total. Their jobs are at Camp Carroll, Camp Hialeah in Pusan, and in Taegu at camps Henry, Walker and George.

Some help out at child development centers or gyms, many others work in offices, said Linda Pangilinan, who oversees the program. She’s a human resource specialist with the Area IV Civilian Personnel Advisory Center at Camp Henry.

The program has two four- week sessions: June 27 to July 22, and July 25 through Friday, when the program ends for the year.

“This job here, I’m learning a lot,” said Parker, whose supervisor is Chief Warrant Officer Theardis Nelson.

“I’m learning about teamwork and I’m learning about organization, how to bring ideas and concepts to the job.…” Parker said. “Learned to be on time — that’s what the chief likes, to be on time and ready for the job. Take notes.”

“It’s a great program both for the students and also for the units in the community," said Area IV spokesman Kevin Jackson.

“The units benefit by having some youngsters come in and work with them and provide some assistance that wouldn’t normally be available to them,” he said. “There’s a lot of administrative work that we don’t have staffing to get done and student hires are able to assist us with a lot of that.”

Parker expects the job to help his future, thanks mainly to Nelson.

“He’s telling me that the job where I am now is like a prep to the outside world, basically,” said Parker. “He’s teaching me job skills that I need to know for a job that I will have in the future.”


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