2004-07-30 / Columnists

The RDRC Community Update

Youth Training Program Sponsored By RDRC
By Curtis Archer, Executive Director

Curtis Archer
Curtis Archer The Youth Education and Employment Training Program (YEETP) of the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) is administering the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which is funded by The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). After a number of inaccurate pronouncements about the programs’ start date and the availability of funding, SYEP finally began on Tuesday, July 6.

Altogether approximately 1,000 youth applied for the summer jobs at RDRC, but due to New York City’s fiscal problems and a shortfall in both State and Federal funding, only 600 youth were selected through a random process administered by DYCD. Only those applicants who were selected through the DYCD lottery system are able to participate in the program.

Youth in the program, whose ages range between 14 and 21, have been placed at not-for-profit and for the first time this year, for profit/private companies.

Program participants earn $5.15 per hour and they work a total of 25 hours per week. Another new innovation of the program is that the youth receive their pay through “debit cards” and they can access their wages through specific banks or points of sale stores.

In addition to the earning part of the program, participants take part in workshops where they learn real work skills and they also are exposed to seven educational workshops, for a total of 17 hours with pay.

The seven educational workshop topics include: orientation, work readiness, college exploration, career exploration, health, financial literacy and reflection analysis.

It should be noted that RDRC was initially contracted to serve 675 youth (600 SYEP & 75 In-School Youth), but RDRC was recently contacted by DYCD to provide job slots for an additional 100 youth.

At the time of this writing, RDRC is providing summer employment to 766 youth. The program will run until August 27.

As always RDRC strives to administer a strong, well run program for the youth and families of this community.

We thank the dedicated employment worksites that have provided valuable opportunities for these young people and which have assisted them in learning about the world of work.

The RDRC officials hope and pray that by next year, New York City and the RDRC will be able to provide even greater possibilities for the youth throughout the community, from one end of the peninsula to the other.

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