Monroe County teens learn about public safety career opportunities

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Teenagers from across Monroe County got the opportunity Tuesday to learn about jobs after graduation.

Select youth from the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection and Primetime 585 had a chance to meet with members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Penfield Volunteer Ambulance.

News10NBC’s reporter Jenny Ly talked with young adults who had many questions about starting a career in public safety.

“I’ve given law enforcement thought because I’m all about helping myself and helping my community in a way that affects me and my [future] children,” said 17-year-old Oscar Soto Cuesta.

In an effort to reverse the trend of low high-school graduation rates and helping students realize their potential, the two local organizations are teaming up to help expose youth to various job opportunities.

“It’s really just breaking down some barriers and exposing youth to something they might not have been exposed to before,” said Andrea Yeager, who handles employment services at Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection.

Students like Cuesta spent the day learning about different types of career paths in public safety and emergency medical services.

“I learned that their schedule is always different. They can wake up tomorrow and be on road patrol or something totally different. I enjoy that a lot because I love to travel, so I really enjoy moving around and having that day-to-day excitement and thrill… something on the edge of my seat. I really enjoy that,” Cuesta said.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Penfield Volunteer Ambulance demonstrated their line of work with props and pets to an interested group of students

“As soon as they started seeing everybody, especially the horses and the working dogs, they really lit up. They were really able to see the police department in a different light,” Yeager said.

Yeager says after a tense year and a half, it was important for young adults to not only see and interact with law enforcement to think about careers, but also spark healthy conversations.

“I think today definitely broke down some barriers for the youth here and, you know, kind of realize that they are members in their community as well. They’re able to see that they have a different perspective on their job and know that they’re human, too,” Yeager said.

For any teenagers interested in a future in law enforcement, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office hosts a Teen Police Academy where, for one week, teenagers get an in-depth view of the organization and police work in general. It is free of charge thanks to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Foundation. For more information about the Teen Police Academy, click here or call 585-753-4831 or 585-753-4734.