Program matches students, employers

Summer Work Program offers area youth a step-up on the job market

For most high school and college students, summer break conjures up the vision of sleeping late and laying around taking it easy.

That's not the plan for some local students, though.

Thanks to a program between a state agency and local businesses, students are finding summer work easier than ever before.

The Summer Work Program, a joint effort between the Colorado Workforce Center and local employers, helps local businesses and students by matching employers with employees.

The program has more than 550 youth registered, and caters to more than 20 local employers who are looking for summer help.

"This is a good way to teach children and young adults some good work habits that they can take with them from here to their new place of employment," said Linda Dill, labor and employment specialist for the Colorado Workforce Center (CWC). "We can give them some hints on completing a resume, giving a good interview and tell them some of the things that employers are looking for in new hires. Overall, it is a great benefit to the whole community, because it helps everyone in the job process."

Employers range from the Bureau of Land Management to local fast food establishments, with some students finding construction and ranching jobs.

"This gives some of the kids a chance to work at a job where they otherwise may not have," Dill said. "It creates some exposure to some other possibilities that exist outside of their normal life."

Most of the jobs pay from $6 an hour up.

Dill believes that the students who participate in the program have a little more to offer prospective employers than do those looking for work without the help of this type of program.

"These kids that come to us are going to have a definite head start going into a new job," she said. "We can answer a lot of the questions that they may have before they get to the job, so they will be more comfortable when they do begin. The response that we usually get is overwhelming."

Recruiting is important to the success of the Summer Work Program. CWC employees get most of their responses from interested students by visiting the high school and participating in local job fairs. Many students are searching for a job that will suit their summer schedule and CWC workers can help to expedite the student's search.

"I think that it's a great program, it helps a lot of students out," said Amanda Thomas, who was hired through the program to work at Subway. "It helps knowing that someone is there to talk to if you have problems at work, or if you are having trouble figuring things out. Not only that, but it gives me extra money to spend on some things that I might not have otherwise had."

Gus Fernandez, manager of Burger King, doesn't have any students currently participating in the program, however, he agrees that the benefits the program offers are great.

"It sounds like a good program, but we don't have anyone in it right now," he said. "If there are any 16-year-olds out there that are good workers, you can send them my way."

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