Oneida County opened the door to opportunity as the Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program leveraged state dollars into a vibrant program and forged partnerships to deal with unprecedented community and economic conditions. Oneida County was fortunate to partner with groups such as the Midtown Utica Community Center, Utica Municipal Housing Authority, Mohawk Valley Community College and the Parkway Recreation Center to offer programs that helped youth learn about the world of work as they made a difference in the community. We also worked with work sites that included Rome’s Jervis Library and the Mohawk Valley Latino Association.
The groups that work with our youth summer after summer deserve credit for their role in providing our youth with outstanding work experience. Helping teenagers learn the ways in which work is different from school requires tremendous dedication to the future of our community, and we are fortunate that even in this very difficult environment, our youth had these agencies to support them. It is important to note that 60 percent of the youth served were 16 and under. These are young people who would not have been able to find work anywhere else, particularly in this summer’s economy.