A pilot program for teens is being run through the Action Scholarship Fund at Action Karate Mt. Airy. The fund provides unprecedented on the job training, leadership opportunities and jobs to teenagers. Any 14-year-old who is a martial arts student for six months and obtains working papers will be automatically offered a job. The student doesn’t have to be particularly ambitious or talented or promising. They simply have to accept the job. The student obtains working papers and works one to two hours a week doing jobs that most interest them. For many students this is helping on the mat, leading drills, being a role model, but that is not required. Many students prefer to work off the mat doing jobs such as organization, cleaning, greeting, and helping the school run smoothly. There is a very clear path toward more hours and raises based on showing initiative, effort and ability. Students in this program are on their own timeline – if they don’t want to work for a few weeks - they can come back where they left off. If they are assertive, they can move up and get raises quickly. They get real paychecks as well as certification training and skills that are applicable for any other job (responsibility, timeliness, etc.)
At the moment this program is being funded by Action Karate Mt. Airy, not the non-profit. The goal is to expand to make it possible to bring many more teens into the program through grants.