Hard at work: 450 Oneida County youths get summer jobs through annual program

Published Aug 12, 2017 at 4:00pm

Some 450 young people are working this summer at locations around Oneida County.

The annual program provides paid job opportunities and serves the 14-to-20 age group, based on family income criteria. Participants are again working in entry-level jobs at places such as parks, schools, libraries, nonprofits and community centers.

Rome area locations include Jervis Public Library, Mohawk Valley Community College community gardening and MarkerSpace, New York State School for the Deaf, and Oneida County BOCES/ Rome Schools office skills training, according to David Mathis, director of Oneida County Workforce Development.

Elsewhere, young people are worth groups like the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Mohawk Valley Community Action, Oneida County, Resource Center for Independent Living, the villages of Oriskany Falls and Waterville, Thea Bowman House, Utica College Young Scholars, and Utica Municipal Housing Authority.

The Summer Youth Employment Program plays an important role in introducing youth into the workforce, helping them acquire skills that can be used to improve performance in school and become responsible adults, as well as providing a paycheck, says Mathis.

Funded through a state allocation of $428,270, the hourly pay rate is $9.70, the state minimum wage.

“You learn responsibility and you learn that what you do matters,” said Fatima Adam, who worked at Johnson Park Center in Utica. “There is someone counting on you to do the job and do what is needed – without being told. I liked that feeling that I was trusted with work that was important.”

More than 18,000 New Yorkers were employed this summer across the state through the program.

“Not only do these young adults learns important skills that they can take to their careers as they move forward, but they also provide the staff with assistance and support,” said Colette Wilk, director of clinical education for the Mohawk Valley Health System. “It’s a great opportunity for MVHS and the youth involved in the program.”

“The Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program has long played an important role in the lives of the young people in this community,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “As a former participant in the program, I can attest to the values it instills in our future workforce and the essential preparation it provides for successful careers.”

Internships for
college students

This summer’s version of the Oneida County College Student Corps has approximately 150 young people interning at about 40 sites in county government, as well as in the not-for-profit and private sectors.

The program is targeted at college juniors and seniors who want to gain work experience in local jobs that pertain to their chosen careers. The underlying objective is to encourage college students to seek work in area after graduation.

The cost is split between the employer and the county.