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Youth reaps more than pin money for summer work

Learning how to be a valued employee is one of the major goals of the upcoming summer youth program conducted by the Department of Job and Family Services.

“This will be the second year for consistent funding for our youth,” DJFS director Gene Myers said. “We are looking for providers so the youth will be assigned to their place of work and will reimburse them for the costs.”

The program starts on June 1 and runs through Oct. 31 for youth aged 16 through 24 and pays them $9 an hour for a work week not more than 40 hours.

“This teaches them responsibility about work, the work ethic and what it takes to be a good employee,” Myers said. “That they have to show up on time, and get paid for the services they provide.”

This year the department is looking for firms willing to be an employer of record that will work as a quasi human resource department agreeing to issue the youth’s paychecks and then getting reimbursed by the DJFS. This would allow larger corporations in the area to hire youth since there would be a clearinghouse to handle the administrative duties.

“I would be able to let more employers participate,” Myers said.

Besides the age requirement the families of eligible youth must have income below 200 percent of the poverty level. Potential employees can start the application process on May 1.

Funding this year is expected to be $300,000. If that money runs out, Myers will try to find additional funds. However, if not, when funds are exhausted the program will end for the season.

Typically, the DJFS assigns a youth to the employers, who have the right to dismiss the worker.

“The program is one of the best in the community,” Myers said. “The youth can use that money for personal needs like school clothes. It is something really gratifying for kids to have their own money.”