By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Job creation to decrease the poverty rate is, perhaps, the biggest challenge facing the city of Philadelphia. City officials hope a fledgling program to place recent graduates in city jobs is part of the answer.

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Two city departments have added special training to their youth summer jobs programs to help seasonal hires get permanent jobs.

The streets department started three years ago, and has hired five graduates.

The Parks and Recreation Department launched its version this year and had four people pass the civil service exam.

“I wanted to build a career in Parks and Rec after having the experience and working in the Rec Centers,” says Samantha Perry, who hopes to teach art as a recreation leader. “I realized it would probably be a pretty fulfilling route to take.”

Akeem Robinson had taken the civil service exam before and not passed. He credits the extra help the Department provided through the Career Path program with his passing grade this time.

“I didn’t even care what my score was or what my title was,” he says, “I was just like, “I passed!” I just started dancing right there and my dad was like, ‘congratulations’.”

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The head of Parks and Rec’s Youth Workforce program, Maryum Madison, says the program serves two purposes.

One is to provide employment for young residents.

“We’ve got great opportunities, we’ve got caring adults and staff, we’ve got facilities,” she says. “We should really be trying to connect the dots on these things and create intentional pathways for these young adults to walk through.”

But she says it also provides the city with a pool of workers who’ve already been trained and have experience.

“With so many of our seasoned staff baby boomers, they will be transitioning out very soon. I mean there’s a huge percentage in the next 5 years so part of this youth workforce work is to really equip the next generation of leaders.”

In the Streets Department, St. Martin Torrence, who directs its “Future Track” program, says it hired graduates for the hard-to-fill surveyor jobs. He says he’d like to see it expanded.

That sounds good to Tygh Kane, one of the Rec Department’s “Career Path” graduates.

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“I think there’s so much need for this type of program,” says Kane. “This brings college-educated professionals back to help out in the city.”