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Paid Summer Work Programs for Youth through CareerSource Polk

April 13, 2023 News

Giving Polk County’s youth an opportunity to gain experience and make money while doing so is the goal of two CareerSource Polk summer programs. 

CareerSource Polk is a private, nonprofit administrator of workforce funds. Its mission is to be the innovative leader to ensure and sustain a quality workforce for today and the future. For this reason, it develops these summer programs to help train the workforce of tomorrow.  

Although it’s held summer programs for youth before, it revamped two programs this year. This is “to allow for expanded participation among high school students throughout Polk County,” said Candace Franklin, the agency’s director of Outreach and Communications. “The focus of the program is to encourage young adults to take an active role in planning for their futures.” 

The Programs

The summer programs offer opportunities for high school students and young adults.:  

  • The Summer Youth Leadership Training Program (SYLTP) is for high school students ages 16 to 19 who are looking to get real-life experience in the workplace. Those turning 16 by April 30 are welcome to apply. “Those who participate will be placed with employers to gain valuable leadership and hands-on experience in a business environment for a maximum of 30 hours per week for up to 10 weeks during the summer break. Students in this track will receive a stipend of $3,900 at minimum,” Franklin said. 
  • The Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP) is for young adults ages 16 to 24 who are not enrolled in high school or college. “Participants will intern with employers for up to 30 hours per week and are paid at the employer’s prevailing wage of up to $15 per hour,” she said. 

“We are so excited to be launching these programs,” said Barbara Mincy, Young Leaders Program Manager for CareerSource Polk. “Leadership training allows us to expand participation and serve more Polk County youth. This experience will focus on encouraging youth to plan for a future that includes cultural enrichment, experiential learning and leadership development.” 

Fields that students might work in include computer/IT, childcare, education, logistics, recreation and retail/sales. Employers can sign up to host a student by contacting Mincy at barbara.mincy@careersourcepolk.com 

Students will also be required to complete CareerSource sessions. These sessions include financial literacy, resume building, interview and communication skills, CPR training, and health and nutrition.  

The programs start June 2 with mandatory leadership training from 9 a.m. to noon. To apply, go to https://www.careersourcepolk.com.   

Paid Opportunities

Paid programs like these benefit everyone, along with encouraging financial independence and a strong work ethic for those who participate. 

“For employers, there is no cost to their business because we cover the costs of our trainees. This includes workers comp,” Franklin said. “For trainees, they are able to gain new skills and real-world experiences that will help shape their career paths.” 

Some young adults have said they would not be able to participate on a volunteer basis due to needing money to help pay the bills, she said. “Paid training reduces the financial barriers for young adults who contribute to their households.” 

It is also a great selling point for young adults, Franklin said. “Many times, there is something they would like to purchase for themselves. This item can be clothes or something for their car, you name it. So anytime you can bring up money, it really captures their attention and opens the conversation. 

Retaining Talent

Programs like this also help engage youth in the community, making it more likely they will remain here. 

“During our programs, trainees build relationships with employers and collaborate with a team of staff members they may not have previously known,” Franklin said. “Participants are also expanding their knowledge about the many industries and job opportunities in Polk County. These are positive experiences that encourage young adults to see the value in their communities.” 

Some youth love the summer program so much they return year after year, she said. “Each time a trainee returns is a new opportunity to connect with another employer and further strengthen their resume. For young adults not enrolled in high school or college, our hope is that their employer would eventually transition them into full-time employment.” 

Economic Development

A skilled workforce is critical for economic development. This is especially true for counties like Polk that are experiencing rapid population and job growth. 

“This is CareerSource Polk’s mission, developing and ensuring a quality workforce for today and the future,” Franklin said. “When it comes to Polk County’s economic development there are many benefits that paid training opportunities offer: 

  • Encouraging young adults to take an active role in planning for their futures.  
  • Building relationships between employers and the future workforce. 
  • Equipping young adults with practical ways to explore new career paths and gain skills that are in demand in our local economy.  
  • Enabling employers to customize and provide training opportunities that directly address skills gaps in our community. 
  • Assisting young people in becoming financially stable. 
  • Fostering community engagement, which can encourage young adults to establish long-term residency.” 

Franklin said CareerSource “continues to build relationships with employers throughout Polk County, which provides an expanded number of opportunities for the young adults we serve.” 

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