Mayor Vincent C. Gray

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June 27, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Kicks Off Renovated Summer Youth Employment Program For 2011 

12,000 Youth Begin to Work at Summer Job Opportunities Aimed at Creating Safer Communities and Teaching Career Skills

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(WASHINGTON, DC) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray and officials from the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) launched a program today that will employ 12,000 youth between the ages of 14-21.

The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has been revised and refocused this year on teaching career and life skills and matching youth with areas of interest for employment. These youth will have “Earn and Learn” opportunities at over 450 various locations, including federal and District government agencies, private-sector businesses and community-based organizations. SYEP is a critical component of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s “One City Summer Fun … Something For Everyone” initiative.

“The summer jobs program provides our city’s youth with an opportunity to gain real work experience and get paid for their efforts,” said Mayor Gray. “I am proud of all the SYEP participants. I also remain firmly committed to making this not only the best summer for them, but for everyone.”

Mayor Gray also visited two SYEP worksites – Clyde’s Gallery Place Restaurant and the DC Central Kitchen – today and met with employers and youths participating.
Over 20,000 youth applied to SYEP this year, and they went through a rigorous process to be certified eligible. The process included providing documentation to show proof of age, social security number, proof of permission to work in the United States, proof of DC residency, parental permission and the submission of a resume or self-profile. Those youth certified eligible were then required to attend orientation sessions that focused on soft job skills, work readiness, the pay process and program procedures.

SYEP will begin on Monday, June 27 and end on Friday, August 5 (Note: Monday, July 4 is observed as a holiday and youth will not work). Youth ages 14-15 will work up to 20 hours per week. Those youth age 16 and up can work up to 25 hours per week. All participants will earn $7.25 per hour.

“The changes in this year’s program reinforce the value of SYEP beyond the paycheck,” said Lisa Mallory, DOES Acting Director. “SYEP provides the youth with an opportunity to learn the responsibilities of having of a job as they earn their money.”

DOES officials have put together a Response Unit to deal with questions and concerns from youth, parents and guardians, and worksites. This unit will remain in effect throughout the summer, with the specific objective to resolve pay issues within 24-48 hours.

In addition, SYEP has hired part-time workers for the summer to serve as Site Monitors who will be responsible for visiting worksites. Participating youth will be able to view their pay online and work with their site’s Payroll Coordinator to answer any discrepancies prior to payday. Youth will receive periodic safety reminders about handling their money and MPD will step up patrols around paydays. All youth will be paid via a VISA debit card. However, those who are 18-21 years old may sign up for direct deposit to an existing account or through a partnership with Bank on DC. Thus far, over 800 youth have opted for direct deposit to an existing account and close to 1,100 have opened new checking/savings accounts.