2004-04-02 / Community

Teens May Be Locked Out Of Summer Jobs

By Henrick Karoliszyn
Teens May Be Locked Out Of Summer Jobs By Henrick Karoliszyn

A change in the way funds are spent by the city may prevent as many as 6,000 low-income children from participating in summer job programs this year. The city wants to hold fewer, more intense classes teaching job skills. The increased cost to add those classes, which will teach the children work ethic, how to manage a bank account among other life lessons, will reduce the number of youth who can be accommodated by the program. The youths, who work in nonprofit communities and city agencies for $ 5.15 an hour, would change from 24 to 30-hour weekly schedules to take the classes, upping the city’s cost to maintain the program Rockaway.

Curtis Archer, the executive Director of the RDRC, said the citywide issue is relevant to Rockaway and stressed that these jobs are essential for the youth. "We need these jobs, especially in Rockaway," Archer said, adding that cutting the summer jobs would be, "a recipe for an explosive situation."

Archer and the RDRC, are hoping to place more than 800 kids in summer jobs throughout Rockaway, surpassing last year’s total of 775, despite the possible issue facing the program. Before the increase, the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will have to approve their submission, which they have not done yet, according to Archer. The citywide summer job cuts, if im plemented, would have a powerful im pact on Rockaway. The main idea be hind the program is to keep the youth opportunistic, despite being poor. Without money or an incentive, it is hard for some kids to stay positive as Archer said, "Where are these kids going to go? Don’t tell me those kids are going to be on the streets."

Against any job cuts, Archer was very emphatic in supporting the program. "I was poor once too," Archer said, "I am a product of these job programs," adding that many successful people are and that these jobs are definitely a positive entity.

With the fate of the program throughout Rockaway under the control of the DYCD, Archer said, regardless of any speculation, "We are hopeful for the upcoming summer," hoping to place as many jobs as possible.

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