05/26/17 — Summer program employs 81 youths

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Summer program employs 81 youths

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on May 26, 2017 7:01 AM

The city of Goldsboro's first launch to create a summer youth job program has resulted in more teens being hired than originally expected.

The city planned to hire 26 youth but instead offered 47 jobs, and the Housing Authority of the City of Goldsboro hired 13 teens, said Shycole Simpson-Carter, Goldsboro community relations director

In addition to the Summer Youth Employment Initiative, which includes an education and excursion component, the city has hired 15 lifeguards, at $10 per hour, and six camp counselors.

The lifeguard posts were added this year after city leaders decided to operate and manage its two public pools, following a YMCA decision to no longer contract the service.

The summer job program, lifeguard and camp counselor posts have led to 81 teenagers being hired this year. The city jobs and associated costs are nearly $95,000, Simpson-Carter said. The Housing Authority positions are being paid for through federal resources.

Wayne Community College, a partner in creating the Summer Youth Employment Initiative, planned to offer jobs to teens as well, but the applicants did not meet certain criteria for the federally-funded program.

"To be eligible for funding through Wayne Community College, a youth had to qualify under all of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program guidelines," Simpson-Carter said. "Unfortunately, we did not have applications submitted that qualified under all of the program guidelines."

The college remains a partner and will provide the education component for the program.

"Training will consist of soft skills training provided by Wayne Community College and financial literacy training to enhance skills and provide a more comprehensive experience to the youth, which is a tremendous cost and use of resources from Wayne Community College to invest in the program."

The first-of-its-kind Summer Youth Employment Initiative drew 294 applicants, and 194 were determined eligible. The applicants had to be city residents, attend a mandatory information session and have transportation to the job sites. The largest share of applicants includes youth between the ages of 14 and 16.

Youth who were not offered a job were instead encouraged to volunteer during the summer. Volunteer opportunities offer experience that can help with future employment, said Michelle Wiggins, director of grant management with the Housing Authority in Goldsboro.

"Program staff have informed students about the importance of volunteering, and how volunteering can lead to future employment, the attainment of skills and networking opportunities," Simpson-Carter said.

Six local volunteer opportunities have been shared with the applicants, she said.

The youth hired for the summer job program will attend a mandatory orientation this week, and many will start working Tuesday.

The program has two, six-week job tracts that include one day per week set aside for either educational training or an excursion. The jobs include hourly pay between $7.25 and $8.25. The six-week job opportunities will take place from May 30 to July 7, and July 10 through Aug. 18.

The jobs include various office duties, labor jobs including landscaping and painting, assisting senior recreation counselors with games and crafts, office clerks and social media assistants.

The youth will work at several city departments, including parks and recreation, public works and at City Hall. Also, youth are working for some nonprofit organizations and local businesses.

The program is expected to continue next year, with a possible expansion and additional job opportunities for youth.

"It has been an honor to work with Wayne Community College, Goldsboro Housing Authority, NCWorks, and the most awesome community to develop a Summer Youth Employment Program that invests in Goldsboro youth to build a better future for them and our city as a whole," Simpson-Carter said.

"I think there will be three life-changing benefits youth in the program will gain, (including) quality workforce development to establish or enhance soft skills, networks to improve their labor market prospects in the future and constructive activities to promote positive behavior."