Summer jobs program is open

The New York City Housing Authority has announced that they are now accepting applicants for the 2008 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
All city residents between 14- and 21-years-old qualify for the program and can gain valuable work experience and educational opportunities during the seven-week program, which runs from Tuesday, July 1 through Saturday, August 16.
Participants work in a variety of entry-level jobs at government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises and retail organizations.
The program, operated in conjunction with the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) since 2003, gives more than just a job.
One of the first things we did was to eliminate a lot of the paperwork and introduced electronic debit card payroll system,” said Michael Ognibene, CYCD chief-of-staff.
“Last year we had 93,000 applications and half of them were electronically filed,” he said, adding, “That saved a lot of time and money - we’re hoping to do even better this year.”
“By giving the kids a no-fee debit card, they get used to the idea of using a bank and doing financial management,” he continued.
In the “old days” paychecks were issued every two weeks. “When you gave out over 40,000 checks to the kids, some always got lost and some kids had trouble cashing them,” he recalled.
“You put two weeks pay in a kid’s pocket when he’s never had a job, and sometimes they make bad financial management decisions,” he suggested.
Ognibene made a point of praising Commerce Bank, the first participant in the no-fee debit card program, as well as Citibank and HSBC, who also provide cards.
In addition to learning about real-world labor expectations, services provided by community organizations and social interaction in the workplace, they get paid instruction time, Ognibene explained.
“We provide 17 hours of instruction in financial literacy, career exploration and post-secondary education,” he said.
The positions are typically 4 or 5 days a week, for a total of 20 to 25 hours weekly. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an unpaid, one-hour lunch break daily. SYEP participants will be paid $7.15 per hour.
Applicants under the age of 18 require the signature of a parent or guardian. Male applicants over the age of 18 must be registered with the Selective Service System.
Printable applications can be downloaded by visiting the DYCD website at www.nyc.gov/dycd, or be obtained by calling 3-1-1 or 1-800-246-4646.
They can also be picked up at any city housing development Management Office or Community Center reception desk. Other places to find applications are:
Afrikan Poetry Theatre, 176-03 Jamaica Avenue, 718-523-3312.
Foster Laurie Police Athletic League (PAL) Center, 199-10 112th Avenue in St. Albans, 718-398-5309.
Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, 62-04 Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood, 718-456-5437 Ext. 232.
HANAC Youth Services, 23-16 30th Avenue 3rd Floor in Astoria, 718-204-2325.
La Asociacion Benefica Cultural Father Billini, 35-34 105th Street in Corona, 718-651-8427.
LaGuardia Community College/Research Foundation, 29-10 Thomson Avenue Room C-314-11101, 718-482-5340.

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