Summer jobs are a chance to gain experience, learn solid work habits and make career connections. They are a chance to announce your readiness for the working world.
That is the way we look at it here with our Summer Youth Employment Program. Sure, we appreciate the opportunity to provide young people with a paycheck that will help them pay for necessities or fund next year’s college costs or simply to just have fun – but we also look at these jobs as the foundation for future success.
That is why we are grateful to Gov. Kasich, Rep. Alicia Reece and others who recently played a part in granting an additional $500,000 in funding for the program so we can extend it to teens as young as 14. Now serving young people ages 14-24, we see the program as a way for participants to:
- gain valuable work experience
- earn a paycheck to help meet basic needs
- develop a work history
- gain a current reference from an employer
- be better prepared to finish school and/or to get their next job
The $3.2 million in funding primarily will be used for wages. Participants can earn up to $10 an hour. We anticipate being able to serve nearly 1,000 young people between June 1 and October 31. That is more than the 850 served last year.
So far, we have well over 100 work sites identified. Those work sites are with local employers, non-profits and government agencies. We are recruiting youth and job sites from around the county.
The young people will do real work that will prepare them for their next job. We will work to place each participant at a site that matches their academic or professional interests. Placements and activities will be driven by the youth’s status. For some, their placement will prepare them to enter the workforce immediately after this program ends. Others will prioritize education planning. An October hiring event will provide the chance to move into seasonal (holiday) employment opportunities.
But, as I said, it goes beyond just the labor and paycheck. These young people will also receive training in interview skills, financial education, resume writing and professionalism. Using a tool on the OhioMeansJobs website, they will develop career plans, complete assessments, create a career profile and write a resume.
For many, this will be the first step on a path to lifetime employment. We are grateful to provide that opportunity.