Youth Employment Program Pilot Gives Contra Costa County Youth Valuable Skills-Building Opportunities

This fall, our CCWORKS team is evaluating the outcomes of a summer pilot program that employed local youth, allowing them to learn valuable workplace skills.

SYEP Sediqullah

Sediqullah, SYEP Participant

CCWORKS’ first-ever such program, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Pilot included four students who participated across county district offices, which included the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (WDBCCC) and two Employment & Human Services offices in Antioch and Richmond. The youth participants were 16- and 17-year-old students from Contra Costa County.

Each worksite utilized the participants’ unique strengths to give them a well-rounded experience in their office and program. WDBCCC lucked out in hosting Sediqullah, a 10th-grader at Concord High School.

“Sediqullah dove right in with redacting and uploading documents, updating manuals and binders, as well as sorting and delivering mail throughout our suite,” said Verneda Clapp, WDBCCC Workforce Services Specialist.

She knew he was going to be a great fit when she saw he was “eager and ready to start work immediately and learning everything we sent his way.” Although the WDB only had Sediqullah for a short period of time, they were able to assist him in learning soft skills such as professionalism and confidence in workplace communication. Sediqullah left with his first résumé in hand, and a letter of recommendation from staff for his future endeavors.

SYEP Selena

Selena, SYEP Participant

On her first day of the program, Selena, a Pittsburg High School senior, entered the building at Delta Fair in Antioch to greet Rene Tucker, her Employment Placement Counselor. She was feeling anxious and wasn’t sure she would make it through her first day, but Supervisor Erica Trujillo and her team did a fabulous job of making her feel at ease.

Within a week, Selena acclimated, building a rapport with her team. During her placement, she received soft skills training and learned how to transfer cases, organize office materials, update application packets and perform caseload cleanup actions.

“Both Selena and I were impressed about the many things that she had done within a week’s time to provide support to the eligibility and clerical staff,” Tucker said.

Contra Costa County’s Richmond office also hosted two youth for the program. Claudia Lam, Workforce Services Specialist at the County’s Employment & Human Services Department, shared their office experience, stating that, “Anjalic, an 11th-grader at Hercules High, and Jeremiah, an 11th-grader at Richmond High, both gained valuable work experience by participating in professional development activities, administrative and clerical duties and community outreach. A Dream Résumé activity helped the youth envision their professional futures and plan a roadmap to achieve their goals.”

Special thanks to the entire WDB CCCWORKS team for making this Summer Youth Employment Program pilot a success! CCCWORKS plans to roll out an expanded program in summer 2023.

This blog article is a special submission by LaTosha Stockholm, Workforce Services Specialist and the CCWORKS Program Manager at WDBCCC.

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