Here’s how San Bernardino plans to engage civic-minded youth – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino intends to collaborate with school district officials to craft a program where high school students can shadow city staffers and elected officials for a crash course in civics.

Pulling back the curtain on city government is a golden opportunity to engage future generations of City Hall employees, appointees and policymakers, City Manager Rob Field told the City Council this week.

“We offer a unique opportunity, a unique perspective, in that we’re a working city, there’s no theoretical” lessons, Field added. “It’s a great opportunity to see how things work in the real world. An opportunity you can’t get in the scholastic world. It’s a vocational training program, in essence.

“A deep immersion in how government works.”

All council members present Wednesday, June 1, backed the move.

Councilman Ben Reynoso was absent from the meeting.

While it remains unclear when the framework for such a program will be crafted and implemented, the idea is to fill a gap between traditional education and post-degree experience.

Originally, the pitch to the City Council Wednesday was to create a Youth Civic Engagement Council that would serve nine months, from August to May of each academic year, and have high school juniors and seniors participate in a variety of city-sponsored events, community projects and other outreach efforts to introduce them to public service work.

Elected officials instead opted to partner with the school district to meet the same objective.

“If we want to change direction (as a city), we must invest,” Councilwoman Kimberly Calvin said from the dais. “This is an opportunity to put our money where our mouths are. … How do we begin to invest in our youth and let them know we trust and believe in their ability to lead us versus us hanging around forever and never allowing that opportunity?”

However the program looks, Field said, civic-minded students will benefit greatly.

“We need to begin to invest in the youth of this city,” Calvin said, “because (the city) is theirs.”

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