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'Summer of Learn and Earn' to employ 2,000 youths for second year

 


Pittsburgh and Allegheny County youths seeking summer jobs may apply for the region’s second “Summer of Learn and Earn” program.

Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (3RWIB) have joined together to match 2,000 youths aged 14 to 21 with summer jobs that position them for later careers. The program will employ 1,300 youths ages 14 to 21 from the City of Pittsburgh and 700 more from Allegheny County, providing participants with personal development opportunities, while also assisting the long-term growth of Pittsburgh-area employers.

The application period ends May 9. The work period begins on June 27 and runs through August 5. Interested youth may complete the online application at http://www.jobs4summer.org, or may also visit in-person application sites to apply in person.

“This program is an investment in our youth, and our future workforce,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “These opportunities help prepare our youth to enter the workforce with basic skills as well as the opportunity to gain experience in problem-solving, critical thinking and other life-skills training. We want all of our youth to be able to benefit from the growth and opportunities that are currently available in our region, and this program is one way to ensure that happens for those youth who most need a chance.”

The county and city joined with 3RWIB in 2015 to launch the program. “Learn and Earn” was launched after more than 1,300 young people applied for jobs in Pittsburgh’s Summer Youth Employment program in 2014, even though there were only 500 positions available. The “Summer of Learn and Earn” effort has expanded the pool of job applicants, using help from area corporations and foundations to help fund jobs for area youth, and to expand their opportunities for career development.

In 2015, the Learn and Earn program delivered paid summer work experience to nearly 2,000 teens and young adults which, in turn, provided more than $1.3 million in wages to the local economy. Participating youth worked an average of 150 hours each and received soft skills and other work-readiness training during the program.

“Summer jobs not only provide spending money, but introduce young people to possible careers in the Pittsburgh area’s growing economy. The ‘Summer of Learn and Earn’ is a great example of how government and our business and foundation partners are working together to give our region’s youth opportunities to build their resumes and prepare for life after school is over,” Mayor William Peduto said.

Workforce trends show the Pittsburgh region needs to prepare more youth to enter the local workforce and replace the region’s aging talent. Over the last decade the share of workers over age 55 grew by more than 80,000 in the region while the share of younger workers ages 25 to 44 fell by more than 100,000 workers. During the same period, the number of jobs for youth declined by 50 percent.

Focusing on training youth now will create a pipeline to fill jobs left by this aging workforce. The Summer of Learn and Earn for area youth is creating a regular flow of trained workers, and will benefit both young people and employers for years to come. Employers will be attracted to the region because they know it has a well prepared, diverse, growing and fully mobilized workforce.

“Learn and Earn is a major step forward in building a pipeline of talent prepared to enter the workforce,” said Stefani Pashman, CEO, 3RWIB. “By connecting young people to the job opportunities available in this region — showing them the breadth of opportunity available right here — we establish the relationship between education and economic success and set them on the path to a bright future.”

Learn and Earn is a three-tiered, six-week program focused on 14 career tracks based on the growing or trending occupations in the Pittsburgh area. These tracks include health care, education, park management, recreation, finance and banking and information technology.

Youth engaged in Tiers 1 and 2 have no or limited prior work experience. They work 25 hours per week and receive a total of 12 hours of work-readiness training over the course of the program. Tier 3 is the capstone experience of Learn and Earn. Tier 3 youth are between 16 and 21 years old, have prior work experience, and have demonstrated the ability to manage tasks individually or as a part of a team. Tier 3 interns work 20 hours per week in a corporate setting and receive a total of 24 hours of work-readiness training.

Corporate partners are being sought to sponsor and employ Tier 3 youth in 2016. The cost is $2,000 per intern, and Learn and Earn staff prescreens all participants, arranges interviews, provides ongoing support, and processes all paperwork and payroll. Businesses who are interested in supporting this effort may contact 3RWIB directly for additional information.

The South Pittsburgh area in-person application site is Goodwill of SWPA, 2400 Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Hours are: Mon.- Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat., April 30 and May 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

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