Almost 450 Houston-area students have traded idle summer days for punching a time clock.
And, instead of viewing that as a raw deal, they asked for it.
The students are participating in the City of Houston’s 2016 Summer Jobs Program. The SJP provides 16- to 21-year-olds eight weeks of employment. The students recently attended training sessions and have now started their jobs working 32 hours a week with departments across the City of Houston.
Summer work is vitally important to the development of youth, said Mayor Sylvester Turner, adding that the city fully supports the SJP and supports providing opportunities for as many participants as possible. In fact, the city has teamed with several Houston-area employers to extend the youth work initiative to other hiring programs. Several job fairs were held where students were hired onsite. The applicaiton period is closed, but learn more at the Hire Houston Youth website houstontx.gov/hirehoustonyouth/.
"Summer employment provides youth with an opportunity to gain job readiness skills, engage in positive activities during the summer, and link to long-term career opportunities,” Turner said in advance of several job fairs, where some youth were matched with jobs in on-the-spot hiring that also included access to community resources, financial literacy and scholarship information. "I am committed to providing as many summer jobs as possible for our young Houstonians."
The city’s SJP is in its third year. This year’s installment of the SJP employs about 450 with the city, funded by $1.5 million from the general fund. Workforce Solutions is also participating in the SJP to hire another 25.
SJP coordinator Velma Laws said working for the city has a significant impact on participants.
“These jobs are life-changing for many of these youth,” Laws said. “Our program is holistic, from the time they fill out the application to job readiness.”
Many of the student interns are immersed in a professional office environment with the city. They will develop job skills, learn professional workplace conduct, and have to dress for a business environment. In addition to learning job skills from work they do, they develop office etiquette, see what’s involved with receiving a paycheck, learn how to save and budget their money, and display traits of responsibility and dependability. Many receive a METRO Q Card and navigate the public transit network to arrive at work on time.
The 2016 Summer Jobs Program lasts through early August.