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  • Summer Youth Program students get head start on employment

    Jul 05, 2018 | Read More News
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    Students around Pima County are fixing cars, sharing county news on social media and catching up on school credits as part of the county’s Summer Youth Employment Program, taking place through the end of July.

    Approximately 1,400 youth age 14-21 are part of the program in which Pima County partners with several local agencies to offer placements to students. Half of the students spent June 4-28 working in offices, Summer intern Brendon Casarezretail locations and with a plethora of other employers gaining valuable work experience. The other half are part of a second cohort working July 2-July 28. 

    The program is sponsored by the Youth Employment Center, part of Pima County’s Community Services, Employment and Training Department and ARIZONA@WORK-Pima County.

    Each year 1,100-1,500 young people pick up skills to become career-ready in jobs with Pima County, the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona and dozens of participating local businesses. The pay is the Arizona minimum wage of $10.50/hour.

    The jobs they perform vary widely, from outdoor labor to clerical to retail. Virtually all industries are represented, including public, private, non-profit and for-profit organizations.

    “Students in our Summer Youth Program get much more than a paycheck,” Daphanie Conner, program manager for the Youth Employment Center, said. “By learning things like time management, professionalism and communication skills, they get a huge leg up on their peers when it comes time to look for full-time employment. We’re grateful to all our employers who give them this valuable work experience.”

    Some students in the program transition into full-time employment. For example, high school seniors in the work experience program with auto dealerships are guaranteed a job if they graduate from school and complete their training during the year.
    Mechanic Francisco Bettancourt 
    The Summer Youth Programs also include basic education, in which young people can earn elective high school credits through learning in math, reading and writing. Work hours range from 20 to 40 hours per week. 

    Participants attend a one-day “employability skills” workshop, where they learn about good work habits and employer expectations, before they go to work. 

    The Youth Employment Center, 320 N. Commerce Park Loop, offers services to out-of-school youth/young adults (ages 16-24) and in-school (ages 14-21) in developing educational and career pathways. In addition to offering free workshops and seminars on career-related topics, the center also offers one-on-one comprehensive case management/workforce development with a staff specialist.

    Top: Summer intern Brendon Casarez makes customized shirts at Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Tucson.

    Bottom: Francisco Bettancourt parlayed his internship in auto mechanics into a full-time job with Jim Click Ford.