Summer Job Program Takes A Hit
By Gary G. Toms
The number of summer job opportunities offered through the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation’s (RDRC) Summer Youth Employment Program will be slashed from 600 to 288 this year due to budget cuts. Rachel Ford, who serves as the program director of RDRC’s workforce development, made the announcement this week, which is sure to have an impact on many young people seeking jobs through the organization.
RDRC receives funding from the New York City Department of Employment to jumpstart the summer job program, but this year the amount of funding was cut to $42,000. Last year, funding amounts totaled $150,000.
Parents, whose children have obtained summer jobs through the program, are concerned about the news.
"I like the fact that they have something for her at an early age. I hope they will have a place for her this year," said Roslyn Truitt. Truitt’s daughter, Anissa, obtained a job at a day care facility last year.
Curtis Archer, Executive Director of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, expressed concern over the cuts and how they would affect the youth of the peninsula.
"The reduction of funds by the New York City Department of Employment for the "Summer Youth Employment Program" will have a detrimental effect on the lives of young people on the peninsula. The program has been a good way for young people to find employment opportunities and make a little spending money during the summer. Without this opportunity, many young people might find the lure of the streets too tempting. In addition, the program provides a way for non-profit organizations on and off the peninsula to get free employees and some workforce assistance. The program contributes to improving the "quality of life" for young people and older residents on the peninsula," said Archer. "Ideally, we wish that there was enough funding to provide a summer job opportunity to every young person that wants one. However, every year this is not the case. Last year, we received applications from approximately 1,300 youth but we only received funding for 625 slots. Unfortunately, a large number of young people will not have the opportunity to experience a summer job," he concluded.
Assemblywoman Michele Titus contacted The Wave upon hearing about the cuts. "We would hope that there is some way that this could be resolved for the youth of our community, and I am willing to use the length and the breadth of my office to work for an amicable solution with our elected officials," she stated.
Applicants, ages 14-21, are selected based on family income requirements. Teens and young adults work a total of six hours per day, with the exception of Friday, and earn $5.15 an hour. An added stipulation is that they must work for non-profit groups.