Several hundred Oneida County teenagers took their first step toward their future careers this week at the Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program’s Work Readiness Days.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program is a chance for local at-risk youth to seize a new opportunity and move toward a prosperous future,” said Picente, who spoke at Wednesday’s kickoff event at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica. “Our program places these teenagers at hands-on sites to develop teamwork, communication and critical thinking skills, and prepares them to become productive employees with thriving careers.”
The Summer Youth Employment Program, which is partially funded by New York State, provides youth ages 14-17 with real-world work experience. This year, approximately 400 youth will be placed at work sites around the county to beautify parks and recreation centers, plant community gardens and help operate community programs serving children.
Work sites for the program include the Waterville School District, Adirondack Central School, 50 Forward Mohawk Valley, Johnson Park Center, Root Farm, Midtown Utica Community Center, People First, Resource Center for Independent Living and Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency.
Picente was joined at the Utica kickoff by NYS Assembly members Marianne Buttenschon and Brian Miller, MVCC Chief Strategy Officer Tim Thomas and Oneida County Office of Workforce Development Director David Mathis.
A similar event will take place on July 6th at the MVCC Rome campus for about 50 youth who will be working at Rome-area work sites, which include the New York State School for the Deaf and Brookside Stables in Lee Center.
Most participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program work about 20 hours per week over four to six weeks. To be eligible, they must be between the ages of 14 and 18 and meet certain income criteria.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program fills a vital niche for youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to work,” Mathis said. “It provides them with meaningful work experience and also helps them earn money their families can use. It truly makes a difference in the lives of the teenagers who will be the backbone of our community and our workforce.”