Finding and keeping a job is a key step in a young person’s transition to adulthood and economic self-sufficiency. Employment not only allows young people to cover expenses for themselves and their families. It also provides valuable opportunities for them to apply academic skills and learn occupation-specific as well as general “world of work” skills; such as teamwork, time management, problem-solving, etc. Teen employment (16-19 years) is directly associated with improved employment and earnings later in life as well as myriad other indicators of adult success.
The summer of 2021 will mark the ninth year of the Giles County SYWP. Teen students, aged 16-19 are placed in 6-week/192 hour work settings that match their work experience (if any), their interests, aptitudes and their future plans. They receive a $9.50/hour incentive for the hours in their work experience. One half of this incentive is paid by Giles County and the other half by the worksite.
The payroll is handled by Goodwill Industries of the Valleys and they also provide liability insurance for the participants. Additionally, Goodwill employs a case manager who is in consistent contact between the SYWP Manager, assigned worker, Goodwill and the worksite. At the end of the program period, Goodwill bills the county and the worksites for their share of the worker’s paid incentive. It should be stressed that this program is based upon the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act model and as such, the worker is not an employee of Giles County, Goodwill Industries or the worksite.
The application process begins in the schools. Each interested student picks up an application form at their school, fills it out and submits it back to the guidance office. Interviews are arranged for each student and conducted by a panel consisting of the Giles School’s Career Counselor, Goodwill/Workforce Manager and the Giles County SYWP Manager. Based upon the results of the interviews and further conversation with the various school counselors, each student is then suggested to a specific worksite for placement.
In every case, effort is made to place students in a setting that best matches their interests and aptitudes, personal needs and future plans. Each student is directed to meet with their worksite prior to the program start date in order to better understand the work requirement, to learn whether the placement is a logical fit for both parties and establish their schedule.
At the end of the six weeks, a Work Readiness Evaluation is completed by the worksite supervisor. This quantifies the workers performance and provides a valuable reference for the worker. Additionally, in September of the next school year, this document is also reviewed by the SYWP Program Manager with the Giles School Career Counselor and the Giles Schools Guidance Counselor(s) in order to better assist them in understanding how their students performed, be made aware of any issues that may have arisen and to provide insight into how they may utilize these findings to enhance student success in the school setting.