The lack of a state budget has left some teens in Connecticut without a summer job, but the City of New Haven is making sure hundreds of youth can still gain valuable work experience this summer.
As part of the Youth@Work Program, the city hires about 600 New Haven youth between 14 and 21-years-old. Some work at the Department of Parks and Recreation, while others take on positions with non-profits and local camps.
This is the second summer Gateway Community College student Courtney Caple has a summer job tough New Haven’s Youth@Work.
“I had to come back because it was too fun and we’re helping New Haven ‘go green’ so why not,” Caple said.
Caple and Shequerra Hobby are supervisors for the city’s Youth Conservation Corps, which works with United Illuminating to promote energy efficiency.
“They’re trying to make New Haven ‘go green’ so we partner with them and share information with residents so that they can lower their energy bills, save money,” Hobby said.
The 11 high school student they are supervising packed bags with relevant information Thursday afternoon to pass out to residents.
“We’re about to go to Edgewood today to start canvassing,” Caple said.
“Giving young people work and employment and jobs is something that is good for your city,” Director of Youth Services Jason Bartlett said. “There’s less violence in your city, kids are engaged and it has been shown that crime drops when kids are working.”
For those reasons, Bartlett said Mayor Toni Harp and the Board of Alders decided to move forward with the Youth@Work summer program even if it means running a deficit for now.
“It’s going to be a burden on our taxpayers and a burden on our budget,” Bartlett said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”
Both Caple and Hobby said they are grateful city leaders gave the green light to the summer jobs program, despite the uncertainty at the state capitol.
“I would tell them thank you because this helps a lot of people,” Caple said.
Bartlett said he has been in contact with New Haven’s delegation of lawmakers in Hartford. He said he is hopeful once a budget is in place that the city will be reimbursed about $450,000 to fund the summer jobs program.