Stamford, DC - Now in its third year, the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP) of Stamford, CT was created as the nation faced an economic downturn and shrinking job market. Mayor Michael Pavia realized that skilled and overqualified employees, who had been recently laid off from major corporations, were now occupying the jobs typically reserved for teenagers during the summer months. This unprecedented event hindered many students from obtaining their first job experience, and as a result, families in Stamford who rely on their teenager’s additional seasonal income, would be faced with additional hardship.
In 2010, Mayor created the MYEP program with the belief that, “We have a responsibility to our youth, and to our community, to inspire tomorrow, today.” Given the economic climate, Mayor felt that high school students were not likely to secure such jobs unless he garnered support from the local business community to help create access to the jobs they needed. Mayor also believed this was a great opportunity to create a stronger workforce of tomorrow by students receiving “real-world” experience in paying jobs, supplemented by professional development workshops and community focused team projects with measurable outcomes. “I invited the community to partner with me to create the opportunity Stamford’s students deserved,” said Mayor Pavia. The results have been outstanding.
The program has impacted 82 students in its’ first two years, and will welcome 75 more students to the program this year. Since the program’s inception, high school students have discovered their interests and strengths, and created an outstanding skillset and career plan for the future. “To me, the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program stands for much more than just providing jobs for teens in Stamford. It has prepared me for the work world through experiential learning,” said Westhill High School graduate Jon Berman. “I have been exposed to a working environment similar to the one in which I would like to work after I graduate from college. Through the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, I now have the experience and skills to approach the job market with confidence.”
The program has seen a three-fold growth in business participation, as businesses from the corporate, private, non-profit, and government sectors have worked together to make an incredible impact on the community.
This year, the program is evolving to a new and innovative level of partnership, as MYEP joins forces with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Sacred Heart University to be introduced to the emerging field of Digital Marketing. Twenty students will receive Digital Marketing instruction, followed by three weeks of work experience with Information Technology and Digital Marketing professionals at Starwood’s International Headquarters in Stamford, courtesy of SHU and Starwood employees
“This model is a new standard of partnership that truly supports the mission of the MYEP program,” said Mayor Pavia. “The MYEP is on track to be a national best practice model that other major cities should follow.”
This year’s program begins with a kickoff celebration on June 27th. Details of the event will be announced.