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    (7/1/2013) (New Haven, CT) – The City of New Haven’s Youth@Work program kicked off it’s 2013 summer program today with the announcement of a grant from the Bank of America that will allow even more New Haven youth to be employed this summer.

    This summer, Youth@Work will provide part-time employment for 650 youth at 78 sites across the City of New Haven—an increase of 75 youth work placements and 10 worksites over last year. Youth will work a maximum of 25 hours per week from July 1 to August 2, earning $8.25 an hour.

    “Youth@work provides our young people with access to positive choices, mentors, jobs and training,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “For some of the youth, this is their first job and it provides them an opportunity to develop their skills and a sense of responsibility. And it’s a win-win,” said the Mayor in reference to the fact that Youth@Work placements provide extra staffing that allows non-profits to serve more people, often children, over the summer.

    Part of the Mayor’s Youth Initiative, the Youth@Work program is aimed at providing young people with workplace exposure, mentoring and school and community-based enrichment activities. The program provides summer employment opportunities, workplace exposure and work readiness activities to youth who may be challenged by socio-economic and/or academic barriers to workplace success. The program targets in-school youth, ages 14-21, who are New Haven residents and attend New Haven public schools.

    Part of the increase in the number of youth served through the City’s Youth@Work program this year comes as a result of funding from the Bank of America who provided a $10,000 grant which will support additional Youth@Work positions with Solar Youth.

    “Summer jobs programs are critical for teens, who face the highest unemployment rate nationwide,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president, Bank of America. Youth@Work provides young men and women valuable real life experience, while supporting one of the area’s strongest nonprofits and, in turn, the community.

    Solar Youth is a New Haven based youth development organization that provides opportunities for young people to develop a positive sense of self and connection and commitment to others. Their programs run year-round and incorporate environmental exploration, leadership development and community service.

    During the summer of 2013, Solar Youth will host three programs in order to serve all ages. This includes CITYCLOGY Summer Camp (for ages 5 to 8, led by teenage Youth Educators); STEWARD Summer Camp (for ages 9 to 13; this year's theme is Connecticut Climate and Weather); and GREEN JOBS SUMMER SERVICE (for teens who want to create a positive change in their neighborhood of Westville Manor). Youth@Work participants will staff the camps, allowing Solar Youth to serve more children.

    "Support from the City of New Haven and its partners to train and hire youth during the summer has been a cornerstone of our programming since we founded in 2000. The Youth@Work teens work in partnership with Solar Youth adult staff to create fun, educational, safe yet adventurous opportunities for dozens of younger children," said Joanne Sciulli, Executive Director of Solar Youth. She further noted that the grant from the Bank of America is extremely helpful to her organization’s summer programming.

    The Youth@Work structure has been proven effective in helping youth establish connections with employers, develop responsibility and a sense of independence, develop technical communication and interpersonal skills, clarify work values and future work preferences and also allows for interaction with supportive adults. Youth Services director Tomi Veale noted that she sees a change in Youth@Work participants over the summer. “They become more responsible, you even notice a change in how the youth carry themselves,” said Veale. A past Youth@Work participant said of her work experience at Solar Youth, “Because of Solar Youth, I am a great, smart, outgoing young lady that can do anything I put my mind to."

    Youth@Work is a public-private partnership between the City of New Haven, the New Haven Board of Education, Workforce Alliance, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce and Empower New Haven.


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