Harrisites join the Workforce: Summer Youth Employment Program and Ladders for Leaders

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This summer, Harristes pursued their various interests by partaking in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and Ladders for Leaders (L4L) program while simultaneously earning money in various industries through paid internships.

SYEP is open to NYC residents between the ages of 14 and 24. To partake in this program applicants need to fill out an application and provided documents such as Proof of Identity, Working Papers, and Proof of Citizenship/Alien Status. The full list of required documents can be found on their website.

Junior Khiara Richards, highlights SYEP’s flexibility when it comes to job placement: “I was placed  in a basketball camp doing computer work which was not my area of interest. I requested a new job and it was at a daycare which was in my area of interest.” Looking back on her experience as a whole Khiara adds, “I made a good amount of money doing something I liked, and I didn’t need a ton of experience to do it.”

Senior Joseph Zhao, who also participated in SYEP, worked as a teacher’s assistant “A highlight from my job was just being able to work with young kids and interact with their young minds… I was fascinated by how pure and curious they were.

Some THHS students were a part of L4L, a more specialized initiative open to NYC residents between the ages of 16-22. When applying to L4L, applicants are evaluated via academic history, a resume, and a short personal essay. While a majority of participants are matched with an internship, it is important to note that an internship is not guaranteed. L4L helps match students with job opportunities but it is up to the student to go through the interview process with the employer directly.

Ladders for Leaders Program Director, Albina Baazov, goes into more details about the matching process: “We send out job opportunities to all qualified and selected applicants. Applicants get to review the various job listings and apply to those they find best suit their career goals, interest and skills. We then have a team that reviews the resumes to ensure the applicant qualifies for the position he/she selected.”

Senior Jessica Siguencia said “L4L’s training was a bit long and tedious but in the end securing a job was worth it.” Despite the strenuous initial effort it ultimately paid off “I had an internship at the Queens Zoo. It was in my area of interest because I want to study biology in college.”

L4L gives students such as Jessica the ability to partake in areas of interest early on in their adolescence and gain valuable skills and insight for their future careers.

Senior Lozjana Gega was also a L4L participant and  work at the Kings County Supreme Court. “I interned with a court clerk who introduced me and helped me form connections with a judge and a law clerk. During this internship, I️ was also able to meet many lawyers who helped me learn more about the career that I would like to pursue in the future, law.”

Albina encourages students to apply for the program saying “In addition to a paid internship, the Ladders for Leaders program offers resume building workshops, mock interview, and networking opportunities. These are all resources and skills that will benefit students in navigating career pathways, work readiness training, academic life and achieving their career goals.”

Lozjana strongly recommends the program agreeing that “ Even if an individual does not have a plan for their career path yet, L4L can allow them to explore a working environment that they may end up liking.”

The Summer Youth Employment Program and Ladders for Leaders initiatives are supported by New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). Both of these programs aim to employ NYC’s youth in order for them to gain experience in the work field and make connections with professionals.

For more information visit the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development website or email L4L@cqy.org.

Photo Courtesy of Annie Lin