Many social observers believe summer jobs for young people have a huge benefit for the community as well as the teenagers. Not only do teens learn some key lessons about life in the working world before they graduate and go forth to make a living, but they learn skills such as time management, financial responsibility, teamwork, job experience and how to network. They also get a paycheck.
For society, jobs also keep teens busy, and out of trouble. According to the American Working Teens Fact Sheet, about 70 to 80 percent of teens will work for pay sometime during their youth, and about half of the young people who are employed work more than 15 hours during a school week.
Teens who work summer jobs before they leave high school, experts claim, develop more confidence for job seeking later. They learn how to land a job, and more importantly, how to do the job, so they leave high school with real life experience on their resumes.
“We will match them with another equally good job experience if we can’t give them what they want.” – Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Phillips
After nearly six months of working with local schools, colleges, county government, and businesses, Jersey City is launching a new summer youth program called the Jersey City Summer Works Initiative (“JC Summer Works”).
The program will offer summer job opportunities, and professional development mentorship and enrichment activities to Jersey City kids ages 15 to 21, and – according to Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Phillips – will give these kids opportunities to pursue certification for career skills needed in the future.
And unlike many of the summer job programs offered in the past, many of these jobs won’t be subsidized by taxpayers.
Some of the job opportunities, according to Sarah Golfarb, Ph.D, a research assistant for the city, are within local corporations that will allow students to get legitimate business experience, to interact with professionals in specific fields, and to network for future opportunities.
Brady-Phillips said city officials started to meet with business leaders, school officials, and others late last year to develop a meaningful program that would provide jobs to a greater number of Jersey City teens.
Learn as they earn
Students involved with the six-week summer program will work four days in various jobs throughout the city. On Fridays they will come together in various workshops where they will cover basic skills such as applying for jobs and other related points of interest.
The workshops will feature peer group work to review the week’s workplace challenges, a cumulative career guidance curriculum approved by the Jersey City Board of Education, and presentations by industry leaders.
The program also has the support of NJ Needs You, which is an organization that helps students who are the first in their families to go to college. Program supporters have committed more than $225,000 toward the initiative.
Brady-Phillips said the program was developed in collaboration with the Board of Education, the city’s institutes of higher education, and nonprofits and community-based organizations.
“Our young adults must be prepared with the job experience and skills necessary to succeed in
today’s competitive workforce,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “Summer Works will provide our city’s youth with access to career readiness through a wide variety of employment opportunities. Through crucial enrichment and mentorship in every program, Summer Works will also ensure that Jersey City’s young residents have the opportunity to flourish throughout the summer and beyond.”
Wider range of job opportunities
The summer internship experience is a competitive program that connects high-achieving high school juniors and seniors to paid internships with prominent companies and institutions and allows them to earn academic credit.
“We will pair these teens off with employers,” Brady-Phillips said.
Businesses and other entities providing jobs include Fidelity, PricewaterhouseCooper, Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson, Jersey City Medical Center, Eastern Millwork, Inc., United Water, Tropicana, Hudson County Community College, and New Jersey City University.
Even jobs offered through various city departments and agencies will be expanded to offer skill-based training and career guidance led by the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP) and in collaboration with organizations including the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council.
A select group of youths will also have the opportunity to assist local artists in the Summer Works Arts Program as part of Jersey City’s Keep America Beautiful campaign. Jersey City residents between the ages of 16 and 21 can apply for the Summer Works Arts Program
Must apply like any other job
In the past, most of the jobs the city provided were through the Recreation Department, said Golfarb. The new program provides a much broader range of job experience opportunities.
Current public school juniors and seniors who are residents of Jersey City can apply for the Jersey City Summer Internship Program.
A panel will review their applications and match them with employers. Sometimes students may get matched up with some choice of career path – provided this is possible, Brady-Phillips said.
“We will match them with another equally good job experience if we can’t give them what they want,” she said.
In some ways, applying for the program is a job education event in itself, since students will have to go through many of the steps they would if they were seeking jobs on their own, such as filling out an application and undergoing a job interview.
Youth who are employed through JC Summer Works programs’ City Youth Jobs, Pathways to
Trades, and Summer Works Arts Program will be invited to prepare for their professional futures through Saturday Jump Start workshops that cover a range of subjects such as career guidance, financial literacy, college readiness programming, and educational opportunities. These will be held at various locations throughout the city.
To provide additional career opportunities for the city’s youth, the mayor’s office is establishing a Summer Youth Job Bank that will help connect Jersey City’s small businesses who are offering summer youth jobs with potential job candidates.
Information and application sessions will be held on May 10 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall, 280 Grove St., Sunday, and May 11 at Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, 140 MLK Drive.
All applications will be open through May 30. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and teens are encouraged to apply early. For more information, please see www.jerseycitysummerworks.org.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.