A Big Jobs Win For County Youth And Families
6,000 Benefit From Summer Youth Enrichment Program Expansion As County Executive Says More To Come
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks celebrated the successful closeout of the 2019 Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) at the Show Place Arena Aug. 2. The County Executive was joined by Office of Human Resources Management Director, Shawn Y. Stokes, Employ Prince George’s President Walter Simmons, and local business and nonprofit partners at the closing rally for the six-week program that provides job readiness training and summer employment to county youth
“This year, we broke records and delivered on our promise to double the size of SYEP and employ 6,000 young people in summer jobs,” said Alsobrooks. “By expanding SYEP, Prince George’s County is showing our young people that we care about them and are willing to invest in them today so they can become the leaders of tomorrow.”
SYEP celebrated many successes this year, including receiving more than 10,000 applications, doubling the number of jobs from 3,000 to more than 6,000 and nearly doubling the number of employers participating in the program from 126 to 250. The most important successes, however, involved the young people who were positively impacted by the program.
Kayla Powell came to one of [the] outreach events for SYEP recruitment and approached the county executive, saying she needed help after having dropped out of college. She received a six-week SYEP position at [the] 311 Call Center, and, after working hard all summer, was offered full-time employment at there. The Office of Community Relations is working with Powell and Prince George’s Community College to get her enrolled in classes. “This experience was very humbling and taught me about our constituents and that patience is key in life. I always have had a passion for helping people and putting others before myself, so it was my honor to help our community with their issues,” Powell said.
Another new aspect of the 2019 SYEP are the Capstone Programs developed for youth ages 14 and 15 who are provided job training and career exploration 24 hours per week. Capstone focus areas include beautification, construction, culinary arts, energy education, leadership/career development, healthcare research, bio-science, cyber security and homeland security.
The milestone achievements and record participation numbers for the 2019 SYEP were the result of changes led by the Alsobrooks Administration and other county stakeholders to expand the capacity of the program, including increasing the age range to youth ages 14-22, removing a restriction prohibiting youth from participating for more than two summers, increasing outreach in the community and developing more community and business partnerships. “The opportunities and experiences provided to the county’s young residents during SYEP can be life changing. They are exposed to many jobs within the government and throughout the community that can help them make decisions about their future education and career paths,” said Shawn Y. Stokes, Director of the Office of Human Resources Management.