We Agree! Summer Jobs Matter!

At ECS, we’re certainly no strangers to the word busy, and the past couple of months have been especially so.

As you may have heard, ECS’ Seeing Youth Succeed (SYS) program recently participated in PYN’s WorkReady campaign, “a citywide initiative dedicated to improving the economic outcomes of the region’s youth by attracting, aligning, and investing resources in coordinated, youth-workforce-development programs.”

June 29th through August 14th, members of the city’s future workforce went to work, became acquainted with the nine-to-five, and honed not only their hard skills, but their soft skills, too. Think back to the first job you had. We can all probably agree that the unfamiliarity of the workplace can be a bit scary, but the youth handled themselves like total professionals.

ECS was excited to get on board with WorkReady since it aligns closely to what the Seeing Youth Succeed program does – lend support while providing opportunities for skill development through hands-on projects and mentorship. And SYS placed a whopping 110 participants at 35 worksites!

As part of the initiative’s requirement, the 110 ECS SYS WorkReady participants completed projects based on this year’s WorkReady theme: “Defining Who You Are by What You Are Not.” Four groups broke out and met weekly at ECS to work on their projects, which included a documentary, a book, an original song, and a short film. Each project explored issues teenagers face, especially in Philadelphia, like negative stereotypes and misconceptions, racism, LGBT rights, and teenage pregnancy, among others.

SYS, in typical ECS fashion, went above and beyond the requirements. Each team met once a week for professional development trainings, covering such topics as appropriate business attire, conflict resolution, time management, and teamwork skills.

One intern shared, “I learned life skills … like when you don’t get something [right] the first time, that’s okay, as long as you keep trying.

On Wednesday, August 12th, SYS threw a program-end event to celebrate the success of the participants. “There were many lessons learned and skills developed, but most of all, relationships were built,” said Arley Styer, director of youth and workforce development initiatives. “Mentoring relationships that formed between worksite supervisors and interns will have long lasting impacts whether it be fond memories, future connections, or the beginnings of career paths. With that, I encourage all of you to take what you have gotten this summer and tonight, and keep going.”

And a BIG thank you to all of our Summer 2015 SYS WorkReady Sites: A Child’s Dream Too, Black Writers Museum, Campus Philly, Career Wardrobe, Clarifi, Common Ground Management, LLC, Early Childhood, Environments Summer Global Art Camps, ELA Restaurant, Episcopal Community Services, Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania City Camp, Friends of Independence National Historical Park, Get Real, Get Raw, Here to Assist, Inc., Heritage Farm at Methodist Services, KIPP Philadelphia Charter School, Little Treasures Party Place, Lutheran Settlement House, Maria Quattrone Real Estate Experts, Mica – Roman Restaurant Group, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Nonprofit Technology Resources, Philly AIDS Thrift, Red Cross, Ryan Foster, Inc., Smart Start Academy, St. Peter’s School, The Gaslight Philly, The Humane League, The Personal Chef, Urbanstead, Victoria’s Kitchen, Weaver’s Way, and Zhang Sah.