Northampton’s summer jobs program to return

  • In this 2016 photo, siblings Andrew and Rora Huynh, of Florence, interned at JFK Middle School in Northampton as part of the Community Action YouthWorks Program. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/kevin gutting

For the Gazette
Published: 4/29/2019 12:14:55 AM

NORTHAMPTON — A summer jobs program for low-income teens and young adults is returning to Northampton this summer.

The Northampton YouthWorks Program is accepting applications through May 24 for the 23 positions it has available. Low-income residents from Northampton between the ages of 14 and 21 are encouraged to apply.

After submitting an application, applicants conduct a screening interview and then are admitted to the program. So far, no one has been turned away. The program includes job readiness training, career exploration and employment.

YouthWorks participants are able to choose where they would like to work. Once they are approved to the program, they inform supervisors of their career interests and advisors reach out to local businesses to find the right placement opportunity.

In past years, the youth have worked at Cancer Connection, All Out Adventure, Northampton schools and the YMCA, to name a few of the organizations that participate in the program. Businesses are expected to pay the first two weeks of work and the program covers the rest.

The positions last for between six and eight weeks in the summer, and pay $12 an hour. In addition to job readiness training, employees will learn about soft skills, which include communication skills and time management, according to Anitra Ford, youth services and special projects coordinator at Masshire Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

“The success of the program relies on whether or not the employers are happy,” Ford said. “A lot of the teens do not have the opportunity to be successful without the soft skills, which are harder to learn.”

The career center and city of Northampton run the program along with the Masshire Franklin Hampshire Regional Workforce Board and Community Action. The program is funded by Commonwealth Corporation, a state program that designs and executes workforce development programs.

About 25 percent of the participants from last summer are expected to return either because they need more job readiness training or hope to explore other career paths.

“The youth are always happy because they are making money over the summer and getting work experience,” said Ford. “The program is really good at meeting them where they are at, so they can find jobs on their own and be successful wherever they end up.

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