Picente: Oneida County Youth Begin 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program With Work Readiness Day at MVCC

With more than 500 youth in attendance for Oneida County Work Readiness Day 2009, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today kicked off the Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program. Picente noted that this year’s program is larger than past years due to funding through the federal stimulus package that is helping Oneida County youth learn work skills.

“This summer opens the door for you to learn what work is all about, to learn some lessons about what employers will want, to learn what types of skills you will need to achieve success, and to use this summer as a first step on the ladder of success,” Picente told the youth. “Months of planning have taken place to create meaningful, rewarding opportunities that will help you learn some critical work skills, help our community agencies, and contribute to the community. Today, the door of opportunity swings open for you.”
Joining Picente were: Congressman Michael Arcuri; Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito; Assemblyman David Townsend; Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Paravati; MVCC President Randall Van Wagoner; MVCC Executive Director of Organizational Development John Bullis; Oneida County Workforce Development Director David Mathis; Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Alice J. Savino; and New York State Dept. of Labor Regional Administrator Delores Caruso.
“Our youth can develop the skills and gain the experience needed to help our region conquer the challenges of the future,” Arcuri said. “The funding we approved in Congress through the Recovery Act to increase Summer Youth Employment will help Oneida County’s youth develop and grow into the future of our local workforce. Valuable life lessons are always learned through summer jobs and I look forward to following the development of these committed young people as they grow.”
Oneida County Workforce Development Director David Mathis said that Oneida County’s Summer Youth Employment Program served about 480 youth in 2008. Due to Recovery Act funding, once all programs are up and running, about 700 youth under18 will be served in 2009, an increase of about 45% “Oneida County’s Summer Youth Employment Program represents the first job for many of the youth we serve,” said Mathis. “Without the funding that our region is receiving from the federal stimulus package, along with the funding Gov. Paterson and the Legislature approved for our youth, these young people would be left behind. This is a great team effort on behalf of our youth, and I want to thank all of our partners.”
Work Readiness Day Exhibits
Work Readiness Day featured exhibits and presentations from a wide range of partners, including:
MVCC: MVCC showcases career opportunities in numerous growth fields, including its unique airframe and powerplant mechanic school at Griffiss Park, renewable energy, health care, and welding. MVCC also provided tours of its campus and facilities and leading sessions detailing skills necessary for success in college and the workplace. “College is an essential step on the road to a career, and we are delighted that MVCC could be such a major partner in this event and in our Summer Youth Employment Program,” Picente said.
New York State Department of Labor: The Department  presented an introduction to CareerZone, an innovative online career exploration and planning system designed especially for today's high-tech youth. CareerZone presents current and relevant occupational and labor market Information on 800 occupations. Links to college exploration and planning resources help youth begin their life/work journey.
Renewable Energy: Morrisville State College. In collaboration with MVCC, Morrisville offered students an interactive presentation that helped them increase their awareness of the regional Renewable Energy Training Center and the region’s opportunities in high-growth “green” careers.
Mohawk Valley EDGE: Mohawk Valley EDGE presented students with information about career opportunities and growing economic sectors in the region.
Also presenting information were: Oneida County STOP-DWI; Utica MHA; Insight House; Mohawk Valley Council on Alcoholism and Addiction; and YWCA of the Mohawk Valley.
Background: Impact of Youth Employment
The need for the Summer Youth Employment Program was highlighted by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, which reported that:
  • In 2008, less than 1 in every 3 teen-agers had a job -- a new 60 year historical low.
  • Teen summer employment has dropped by more than one-third since 1989.
  • Teen summer employment has dropped by 30% since 2000.
  • Between 1979 and 2008, the summer employment rate of male teens declined by nearly 40%,
  • By the summer of 2008, only 1 of 5 Black teens and only slightly more than 1 of 4 Hispanic teens were working
  • From 2000 to 2008, employment for teens with family incomes under $20,000 went down 35%; for youths from families with incomes under $60,000, employment went down 29%
In the spring of 2009, it added these facts:
  • In the first quarter of 2009, under 30% of the nation’s teens were employed, lowest rate in post-World War II history
  • Only 32 of every 100 young adult high school dropouts worked full-time in the fall of this year versus 52 of every 100 high school graduates and 77 of every 100 four year college graduates
The Center also noted that Youth Employment pays community dividends beyond the wages youth earn, noting that:
  • More intensive employment during teen years and early 20s increase likelihood of receiving apprenticeship training and formal training from employers in your early to mid 20s; these training investments raise wages and earnings
  • Local areas characterized by higher employment rates for teenaged girls have lower teen pregnancy rates
  • Local labor markets with higher employment rates and wages for boys reduces their involvement with criminal justice system, particularly for assault/battery and property crimes, reduces attraction of drug sales among inner city youth
2009 Program Listing
The 2009 Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program includes these programs:
Preserving Our Past and Securing Our Future / Rome Historical Society: The Rome Historical society in partnership with other highly regarded not-for-profit and businesses in Rome provides a summer work and learning opportunity.
Career Options Program / Utica School District & MVCC:  To gain work experience, students will be employed in various positions in the Utica City School District. The project is designed to enhance the basic educational skills of youth and enhance citizenship skills.
Construction Trades / Oneida County School and Business Alliance (SABA): Students will learn basic carpentry and construction skills;
Health Occupations / Oneida County School and Business Alliance (SABA):  Students will participate in an on-the-job training/ work component at Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare.
Civil Engineering / Oneida County School and Business Alliance (SABA):  Students will learn basic civil engineering skills pre-employment and other work-related skills.
The Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program also places youth at a variety of worksites designed to help youth gain valuable work experience. The list of 2009 worksites includes: Boonville / Oneida County Fair; Camden Central Schools; Johnson Park Center; Neighborhood Center; Rome YMCA; Salvation Army; Thea Bowman House; Utica Youth Bureau; VVS Central School; Waterville Central School; Westmoreland Central School, and Young Scholars Program.