MERIDEN – With a shortage in the labor market and school ending, many businesses are offering seasonal employment to local youth.
Tammy Valk, human resources director at the Meriden-New Britain-Berlin YMCA, said for the past five years the organization has been managing the Summer Youth Employment Program. The initiative, funded through the State of Connecticut and other grants, places about 60 youth in positions with local businesses and organizations.
“We would love to provide this experience to everyone but we only receive a certain amount of funding,” she said.
The program requires participants to live or go to school in Meriden and they must be between the ages of 14 and 21. Valk said interest in the program has been “outstanding” this year. A total of about 475 youth have applied, in comparison to around 300 in previous years.
Other organizations the YMCA partners with to offer youth employment include the Boys and Girls Club, child care centers and the local Board of Education.
“A lot of times this is the first job for many of the applicants,” she said. “They gain interview skills, they gain communication skills, going through the hiring process, just filling out an application is experience for them.”
The program starts July 1. The application deadline was last month and the YMCA is now going through the interview process. The application is normally placed on the YMCA website www.meridenymca.org in January.
The Wallingford Youth and Social Services Department also partners with businesses and organizations to offer youth employment opportunities, said Gary Redman, program coordinator. The department also offers a Job Bank, through which teens can be paired up with people in the community to perform basic jobs around someone's home like yard work and cleaning. For more information about the program, call 203-294-2175.Opportunities available
According to Angela Klonaras, assistant manager at Huxley’s Bookmark Cafe, 1376 East Main St., the cafe is looking for line cooks, dishwashers and servers during the summer. Learning the importance of working independently and with a team, while getting social skills and work experience to put on a resume are some of the benefits of working in the cafe, she said. For more information, call the cafe at 203-237-4087.
Old Navy stores in the area also are hiring part-time brand associates. Anyone interested in applying can find out more information at www.gapinc.com/en-us/careers/old-navy-careers.
Other job opportunities to consider during the summer are available at Panera Bread in Wallingford, which is looking for “energetic, young people,” said spokesperson Jess Hesselschwerdt. Cashiers, salad and sandwich makers and food prep positions are open. Hesselschwerdt said flexible hours, anywhere from 10-40 per week, is possible. The company offers free meals during a work shift, Hesselschwerdt said. For more information, visit careers.panerabread.com/global/en.