CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Not many teenagers are trained engineers but thanks to a partnership between Toyota and the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, 11 Cincinnati kids are spending six-weeks learning skills they can use for a career and earning a paycheck at the same time.
The 11 teens are among the 265 employed through the Greater Cincinnati Urban League's Summer Youth Employment program paid for by a city grant. These students meet four hours a day at Woodward Career Technical High School learning everything from coding, circuitry programming to peace building and social skills.
"This has moved up on the career list I guess you could say," said 15-year-old Kish Richardson, from Walnut Hills High School.
"I didn't know what a code was before but now I do. I didn't know how to set up a program. When I first seen all these wires, I was like 'Oh we working with wires?" said 14-year-old Marquin Mccaley.
But perhaps the most impressive part of their success isn't where they are going but where they are coming from.
"This summer has just really been something tragic," said 17-year-old Ramelo Richardson.
So far, there have been 36 homicides throughout Cincinnati just this year. Shooting victims are up nearly 30 percent. They say it has been a summer of violence in their own neighborhoods, taking their friends to the grave or to jail.
"I hear a shooting every two weeks. Probably less than that. Probably every week or so. It's too much," said Richardson.
Despite all of that, here they are. We asked them why? How are they rising above their peers? These are a few of their answers.
"I want to change the world. I want people to stop thinking that young African American males are going to go down the wrong path. I want to be a role model," said Mccaley.
"You don't want to use guns. You don't want to use your hands. Use this. This will carry you, said 15-year-old Nylan Mosley.
"A lot of people tell me they don't want me to be like my father. They tell me I can do better. A lot of people that see me now that I'm older and more mature, they are glad. They're happy. They are proud of me and who I am and I like that," said Robinson.
"It's all about maturity. Who is mature enough? Who has the integrity? Who is persistent? Who has the courage? Who is brave? I'm brave," said Mccaley.
Thursday, those 11 students completed the 6 week program and each of them are now considering careers in engineering or technology.
For more of their inspirational advice to their peers who may be choosing the wrong path, click here.
For more on youth services through the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, click here.