Last week, 23 students met at Baldwin High School to participate in a training with JFCS Career Development Center staff for Learn and Earn, a summer youth employment program designed to help students get employment experience, build skills for future employment opportunities, and make some money along the way.
Learn and Earn Summer Work Program
Learn and Earn is a program delivered by Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, and Partner4Work. The opportunities are open to anyone ages 14 to 21 and the program is about 6 weeks, with 150 hours spent working at a designated site, as well as training in professional skills and development from provider organizations like JFCS. These students at Baldwin High School are part of just one of the groups that JFCS is training for Learn and Earn this summer.
JFCS staff spent the training time helping the students learn about the responsibilities that come with getting a new job. For most of the students, this will be their first job of any kind and an important step in preparing for their futures. Marina Santicola, Youth Career Counselor, explained, “We went over professionalism, communication, resume building, and financial literacy.” They helped them practice interviewing, develop their resumes, learn the importance of timeliness, and even understand how to open a bank account. Javier from Neighborhood Allies joined one of the training days to talk with the students about how to use a bank account, how to open one, and general best practices for saving.
Preparing High Schoolers for the Future
The students represent a variety of countries, backgrounds, and career ambitions, with many hoping to go into the medical field. “The students in this group speak seven different languages–Nepali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and more. So it’s a very diverse group,” said Bishnu Timsina, JFCS Career Consultant. Learn and Earn tries to place students at worksites that will help them gain skills and experience that will be useful in their future careers. While most of these students will work in various roles at Baldwin High School through the summer, some will also work at local libraries.
Many of the students seemed excited at the prospect of gaining work experience before they get ready to head to college or as they think about their future careers. They even asked questions of the JFCS staff about why they chose the jobs they are in and how they ended up working at JFCS. For other students, the main importance of a summer job is being able to help their families financially at home, and some were just excited to have some of their own spending money to use! Whatever the reason these students chose to participate in Learn and Earn, they came to each training ready to learn, hone their job application skills, and gain professional development.
Doing the Work
Now that the students have completed their training, they will start working at their sites, treating this like any other summer job. They will report to their supervisor on time and build their skills in professionalism. The JFCS staff continue to support them throughout the summer with regular check-ins, timesheet collections, and help with any issues or concerns to ensure that they have the best experience possible with their summer jobs.
If you want to learn more about our youth employment programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.