Last year, the ’s Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program placed thirty Middletown students into part-time summer jobs, helping them to gain essential work experience and setting them on a path towards success in school and in life. Demand for this program is high, and each year the Chamber has had a waiting list for participants hoping to take advantage of this great opportunity.
Thanks to a number of funders that have stepped up to contribute including United Way, the Chamber became poised to find jobs for about seventy students, more than double the number they have typically been able to match with positions. The students are paid using these grant funds for twenty hours per week over a six-week period.
“In addition to the valuable work experience gained by the student,” says Jeff Pugliese of the Middlesex Chamber, “the local business gets an extra set of hands over the summer months at no cost. This fits in perfectly with the Chamber’s mission of supporting our members in any way possible.”
Youth @ Work participants come from local school districts and complete a comprehensive pre-employment application. The Chamber’s role is to recruit companies able to host one or more students, gather the application submissions, and then match up students with the best position which begin on Monday, July 9.
“This program is developing tomorrow’s workforce and is a critical piece to a young person’s education,” says Jeff. It’s “a win for everybody involved.”
This is not the only workforce development program the Chamber is implementing. In addition to Youth @ Work, the Chamber works with the City of Middletown on the Middletown Worker Preparation Program and with Workforce Alliance of New Haven, the Connecticut Department of Labor, the Office of Workforce Competitiveness and the City of Middletown to serve as a bridge that connects job seekers to employers.
The Chamber also works in partnership with Community Renewal Team to help provide students at-risk of not graduating with employment and development opportunities. And recently, the Chamber announced a new training program offering free courses designed to bring job seekers up to speed with current and typically required technical office skills and software programs.
The primary funding for Youth @ Work is Workforce Alliance, the Workforce Investment Board for the state’s South Central Region. The Chamber is able to serve an increased number of students this year due to the contributions of many organizations and businesses including: Middlesex United Way; City of Middletown; Liberty Bank Foundation; The Peach Pit Foundation; Seasons Federal Credit Union; Middlesex County Community Foundation; MiddleOak; Middlesex Coalition for Children; Main Street Market; and Centerplan Companies.
The Chamber is one of our community’s greatest assets due in large part to their successful efforts around workforce development. They understand that a strong workforce leads to a strong economy, and they put their words into action every day to make our community a great place to do business.