Summer Youth Employment Program gives students chance to work and learn key skills

Hundreds of students participated in Suffolk County’s Summer Youth Employment Program, which gives young adults from economically disadvantaged homes the tools and experiences necessary for success in their future career paths.
For many, having a job this summer was about more than just making money.
“I think the program is a nice way to enter into starting to work and getting into the habit of getting up at the right time,” says 17-year-old Jose Cruz.
Those who participated in the program worked in a variety of jobs across the county, including in offices, schools, farms and community-based organizations where they developed interpersonal and technical skills.
Students were paid $15 an hour from grant money.
Cruz says the money has helped his family make ends meet.
“We are at the point where everyone in my household is working and contributing to the bills,” Cruz says.
Students in the employment program are also given the opportunity to apply for other jobs if they decide to work first after graduating.
On Aug. 17, Suffolk County will hold a Youth Career Fair to provide young workers the opportunity to find a career with the experience they received from the program.