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Give Hope to a Young Person This Summer, Help Build a Talent Pipeline

Summer Youth Employment Program

July 1, 2020

HOPE. A simple yet powerful word. According to Gallup, the most important indicator of a teen’s future success is hope. Can they envision a future life of happiness and purpose? Do the adults in their life care about their future? Do they see relevancy in their education and experiences to a meaningful career? In a time when so many individuals and companies are asking “what can I/we do” to support our minority communities, here’s a suggestion. Hire a young person and give them HOPE through the Evelyn K. Davis Center (EKD) summer youth employment program (SYEP).

Increasing Opportunity Through SYEP

For seven years, the EKD SYEP has served an important role in preparing youth and young adults, primarily from low-income communities, for careers. While providing workplace readiness preparation, career exploration and job placements with area employers, the SYEP experience also improves economic, academic and behavioral outcomes for the young people. This is a talent development opportunity in our region. Supporting the youth in this program can help your organization connect with individuals who might never have known about you before, and may now consider you as a future employer. This increases opportunity and strengthens our region’s talent pipeline.

The Talent Pipeline + COVID-19

The current COVID-19 crisis has exposed and is widening the equity gap for our young people. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure those wanting a summer work experience have one. EKD needs more partnering companies to host one or more young person for this year’s SYEP.

Get Involved

What is the EKD SYEP? It is a work-based program for individuals between the ages of 14-21. Since starting seven years ago, over 400 youth have participated. Due to the pandemic and delayed notification about funding, they are starting later than usual this summer.

The first two weeks with EKD staff (June 22 – July 3) is dedicated to pre-employment training for youth to learn about expectations and workplace culture. Financial education is also covered so youth develop smart spending habits with the paychecks they’ll be earning.

Become a Host Employer

What does it mean to be a host employer? Youth placement will be July 6 – August 13. The work week is typically five hours per day, Monday-Thursday, for a total of 20 hours. Fridays are reserved for programming. The placement is a perfect gateway for youth to explore future education or training needed to align with career goals. Employers provide an experience and guidance to engage and teach youth, some who may be in their first job. Traditionally, these experiences are in-person but given the current environment we recognize that may not be feasible. No problem ?— get creative! You could have them work on a virtual project which may be how they will work in the future anyway. Have them do a virtual job rotation where they can learn about the various careers within your company and industry. Do you have outdoor work opportunities? Or a storage/filing area that needs organized? The professional team at EKD would be happy to work with you to design an experience that would be meaningful for both you and an SYEP worker. Contact Joy Esposito today at jnesposito@dmacc.edu. Find the sign-up form for your business here.

While some employers contribute to cover the cost of a participant, that is not required as they have funding to ensure youth are paid for their time. Your investment of time and caring will provide an ROI unlike any other.

Cultivating this future talent is critical for our region’s workforce to continue to grow and for our community to be a place of equal opportunity for all backgrounds. We hope your company considers being a part of this experience.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

Dr. Marvin DeJear

Dr. Marvin DeJear is the former director of the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families.