HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — About 500 soon-to-be high school graduates in Maryland will soon be working with nonprofits in the state like the United Way, Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, local food banks and even state parks.

It was an idea that appealed to Maryland voters last year as Gov. Wes Moore campaigned. He proposed a “gap year” for high school graduates to do community service before going to college or starting a career.

Those in the program will be paid $15 an hour and can be eligible for a $6,000 college scholarship upon completing their service.

“It’s going to be their choice but we want to do it because it helps to address the college affordability crisis,” Moore said. “I believe in experiential learning and this creates a pipeline into the workplace.”

Hailey Robison graduates South Hagerstown High School and is set to graduate next spring.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “Helping to pick up the trash or helping in libraries and stuff, or like child care.”

The program is being overseen by the state’s Secretary of Service and Civic Innovation, Pual Monteiro. He served as national director of AmeriCorps and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).