01/10/18 — Preparation for summer jobs program starts now

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Preparation for summer jobs program starts now

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 10, 2018 11:59 AM

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Renita Dawson addresses they potential candidates for the Goldsboro Summer Youth Employment program Tuesday at Wayne Community College. The information session held is mandatory for those participating in the program. Another session will be held Thursday, 6-8 p.m. in the same location.

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Romeo Colbert, center right, and his stepfather, Marlon McKoy, listen to information shared with candidates for the Goldsboro Summer Youth Employment program and their guardians at Wayne Community College Tuesday night. Participants must attend the session to be accepted into the program. A second opportunity will be offered Thursday, 6-8 p.m. at the same location.

Teens interested in summer jobs  through the City of Goldsboro's employment program attended the first of two mandatory information sessions, Tuesday night in Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

The next one will be offered Thursday night, 6-8 p.m. in the same location.

This is the second year for the initiative, organizers said.

"We interviewed approximately 180 students last year and I believe the number was somewhere around 63 that were employed," said Renita Dawson of Wayne Community College, a partner in the effort.

Money to pay the teen hires comes from the City of Goldsboro, Goldsboro Housing Authority and Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, or WIOA, she said.

"We're leveraging funds to be able to assist as many students as we can," she said. "Since we're just getting started and pushing it out, I think communication is just going out to employment sites. Of course, we're going to reach out to those folks from last year."

In the summer of 2017, an estimated 21 sites participated in the summer employment program.

The plan is to offer at least 50 jobs this year, in a variety of places and doing an array of tasks -- office work, recreation, light labor, to name a few.

The program is for teens 14 to 18 years old, with the extension of ages 16 to 24 ---- the federal guideline ages for high school dropouts ---- also eligible to participate. Youth are able to work 20 hours a week, in one of the two six-week periods.

The information session provided an opportunity for the teens, most accompanied by an adult, to ask questions and receive some basic training.

"A 14-year-old has never worked, so this process -- interviewing, applying -- is a great experience for them," Dawson said.  "And it's a good opportunity for the work sites and other agencies, who want to help and plant a positive seed.

"Last year the responses were so good from the employer work sites."

Shaquita Hatcher, with N.C. Works, is employed by the college but based at the former unemployment office.

"I get all the work sites together and set them up to be approved by the city," she said. "We had last year, (places) like Rebuilding Broken Places, the college, the cafeteria at WCC. It was a wide variety, including some churches."

She said she is in the process of soliciting the next round of businesses, which will be matched with the youth applicants.

Lotorri Lewis attended with her 14-year-old son, Jayden Lewis.

"It's really something to get him out of the house over the summer, and what better way to do it than to work?" she said.

She said she had already filled out the application online in advance of the session.

Marlon McKoy brought his stepson, Romeo Colbert, 16.

"I did summer youth work when I was a child in the city of New York," McKoy said, explaining that his experiences were in both a hospital and, later, a library. He is now stationed here with the Air Force.  "Starting off, (Romeo) has no experience. It gives him experience for his job applications and it also gives him the discipline.

"I think it's very necessary."

Colbert, a high school sophomore, said he doesn't mind hard work in any area. He has his sights set on a future career as a lawyer, he said.

Eighth-grader Khylee Brinson was accompanied by his grandmother, Patricia Brinson.

"It was her idea" to apply, Khylee said. "I feel good about it. I think it's a good opportunity, just the experience of work."

Nikolas Wells worked in the program last year as an office clerk at the unemployment office.

"I just loved what they were doing," he said of the program. "I really wanted some money in my pocket. I didn't have any money in my pocket.

"It was a good program. I liked it a lot."

Like many teens, the 15-year-old admitted the best part of the experience was the paycheck. But he also appreciated the "excursions" those in the program were taken on, including trips to aquariums and museums.

"I met a lot of people and I made a lot of good friends," he said.

His dad, Karment Franklin, said it was an easy decision to support Wells' pursuing the job opportunity.

"It's a learning experience for him at a young age -- getting out and getting that experience, getting the feeling of what the work environment was all about," he said.

Wells said he is looking forward to the possibility of being hired again this summer.

"All of my friends said they were going to do it again this year," he said. "I was just happy. I was ecstatic."