Jeanette Lewis is only 16, but she worked as an intern in the legal department at the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust last summer.
She performed so well that she parlayed that summer job into a part-time job after school.
The best payoff could be this: The Mastbaum High junior can now see herself becoming a lawyer some day.
"I really love my job," a smiling Lewis said yesterday.
Grant Williams, 18, spent last summer working in the radiology department at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The senior at Bok Vocational Technical High intends to become a physical therapist.
Yesterday, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce presented Lewis and Williams as examples of what Philadelphia high school students can achieve if given the chance.
Unveiling an initiative called, "Working Solutions: Creating Opportunities for Youth," the chamber challenged city businesses to provide at least 1,000 employer-paid summer jobs this year.
Chamber officials said that joining with its partners in the project will pay off by giving experience and workplace know-how to the next generation.
"Many don't see a promising future," said Joe Frick, chairman of the chamber and president and chief executive of Independence Blue Cross.
The project has agreements with about 225 employers for summer jobs this year through the outreach work of WorkReady, an arm of the Philadelphia Youth Network.
Frick said Independence Blue Cross will provide 50 paid jobs for high schoolers this summer. It provided 22 jobs last summer.
And Roger Bomgardner, senior vice president of Commerce Bank, pledged 25 summer jobs and 10 positions for a mentoring program.
The summer jobs are for 11th- and 12th- graders and the mentoring program is for 10th-graders, who get to shadow a professional for a couple of hours a week during the school year.
Mark Schweiker, chamber president and CEO, said the chamber has already discussed with Gov. Rendell and state legislators the idea of providing tax credits for businesses that hire young people from low-income homes.
The legislation hasn't been introduced yet, Schweiker said.
"But we're going to go ahead and do this with or without the tax credit," he added.