PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Nearly 100 Peoria Public School students will participate in this year’s Mayor’s Youth Program. Its orientation day was held this morning at the Marriott Pere Marquette Hotel in downtown Peoria.

The program is divided into two separate programs, a youth internship program, and a youth program through the Department of Public Works for older teens. Youth employment program coordinator Amanda Riggenbach is in her first year in the role, and she says that the program can give students a sense of direction.

“You grow up and you’re thrust into the world, and you don’t know what it is you want, and so if we can provide these students with opportunities in the arts, in nonprofits, in institutions, it shows them that there’s a lot more out there than they think,” said Riggenbach.

Public works interns focus on beautification projects throughout the city, while youth interns are assigned to different nonprofits and public institutions. All interns are paid for their work. The program lasts 8 weeks.