Summer Jobs Begin For Youth Employment Program Hires

Students in this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program began their work for the summer of 2014 on Monday, July 7.

A grant through the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board provides the program, according to Peg Ragaini, the school to career coordinator at Newtown High School. Students apply for a position in the program and are placed into a position to work 20 hours a week for six weeks throughout the summer.

The program, Ms Ragaini said, offers participating ninth to eleventh grade students a chance to develop work habits while earning money. Students in the program earn minimum wage, according to Mimi Riccio, who oversees the Summer Youth Employment Program with Ms Ragaini.

“We run it every year,” Ms Ragaini said, explaining the grant is also applied to each year.

Some students, like Cole Ricciardi, return to work for town department or are they were placed with, outside of the grant-funded program. Cole said he worked through the Summer Youth Employment Program last summer, but this summer he works as an employee of the town.

Cole said the Summer Youth Employment Program was an “absolutely wonderful experience. I’m very thankful for it. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a summer job,” Cole continued. “They won’t regret it.”

Ms Riccio said the Summer Youth Employment Program has been offered for roughly ten years at NHS. This year 15 students are participating in the program. Ms Riccio and Ms Ragaini said students are placed with the school district’s accounting office, district custodians, Newtown Parks & Recreation, the town’s Highway Department, and one has been placed as an assistant with the district’s pre-kindergarten extended year program.

“I think they get a real life work experience,” Ms Riccio said about all of the students in the Summer Youth Employment Program.

Students in the program are evaluated three times over the course of the six weeks on their ability to work with others, follow directions, and to show initiative.

“They get a good job reference they can use to build on,” Ms Ragaini said.

Jack Vichiola, supervisor for the summer program for both town employees and the Summer Youth Employment Program, said students who work with the custodial staff at NHS help to clear and clean every room at the school. One wing was already done by Monday, according to Mr Vichiola, and, “waiting for the kids to come back.”

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