HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The sun was shining and the food was plentiful at the employer appreciation luncheon hosted by MassHire Holyoke. This luncheon was a way to say thank you to the 70 local businesses that opened their doors to give kids valuable training and workplace experience.

Yaritza Cruz-Baez, Director of Youth Services at MassHire Holyoke told 22News, “It’s important to thank them because they’re providing the actual work experience, they are actually training the youth, taking their time from their day. Youth are going in with the basic skill sets but they’re taking the time to really evolve our youth into the field that they’re in.”

Through program, students can get experience in a field of their choice. This year, the 200 participating students came from Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield and Westfield. MassHire also instructs the students on how to build a resume, interview prep and etiquette tips before placing them in a field they are interested in.

MassHire Holyoke works with several local businesses, so students can choose from a wide variety of fields, anything from clearing hiking trials to working in healthcare.