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County youth employment program may not happen


With research assistance from Kristen Peters, OW High School Intern

As a teenager, Francisco Perez used the proceeds from his job with the Summer Youth Employment program to purchase his first car. Today, he is one of those in charge of running the program through the Los Angeles County Department of Community and Senior Services.

But, he still remembers the pride and sense of self-satisfaction gained from that work experience.
However, the way county finances stand at this juncture, no funding has been allocated for a youth employment program for 2011, and Perez said that unless some money is found, there will be nothing for young people this summer. Last year about 20,000 youth 14 and older spent six weeks working and earning money.

In the past two summers, the county has used stimulus funding and Temporary Aid to Needy Family (TANF) contingency funds to underwrite the program, but this year there is no such money available.

In the city of Los Angeles, the picture is not so grim. Officials there are planning for a summer youth employment program but at this point are not sure how many jobs will be available nor exactly when the program will start.

There have also been changes made to the program that impact exactly who can participate. This year the city’s program will only be open to youngsters who live in a household that is in the CalWorks program or receives food stamps.

Letters have already been mailed to these households, but officials say those who think they may be eligible should contact their case worker.

In addition to subsized employment, there are private employers such amusement parks that will hire thousands of young people for summer work.

Six Flags Magic Mountain and its sister park Hurricane Harbor expect to hire 3,000 seasonal employees, age 16 and older,  who can work daily now through Sept. 5, (there are a very limited number of slots for 15 year olds) to work in food service, ride operations, park operations (maintenance), retail, games, life guards, security and entertainment. Those with lots of energy, who want to have fun interacting with people will most likely succeed in obtaining a job.

The first step is to visit the park’s web site and complete an application.

Other amusement parks to consider are Knott’s Berry Farm and its water attraction Soak City,; Disneyland (www.disneyland); Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier (; Raging Waters in San Dimas ( or call human resources at (909) 802-2247; and Universal Studios (

There are other sources of employment. These include the California African American Museum, which offers a Young Docent summer program that runs from June 20 to Aug. 19. The deadline to submit an application is May 20. It must be accompanied by a typed personal statement about yourself that also includes details on why you would like to be a Young Docent; and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or school principal. The process also includes written and oral examinations and museum training.

For additional information, contact Elise Woodson at ( (213) 744-7432.

If you’re too young to work a job or can’t find one, but still want a way to earn money, consider starting your own business. There are a number of summer programs that will train you how to do that this year.

The Los Angeles Urban League will conduct its BIZ Institute for youth ages 12-20 from July 6-29. Participants learn how to operate a business from concept development to opening the doors.

There is a $200 cost and $25 is due with the application, however there are a limited number of scholarships available. May 13 is the deadline to apply. For information, call (323) 292-8111 ext. 645.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) in the Santa Clarita Valley at College of the Canyons and at Long Beach City College conduct free the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP).
The Santa Clarita SBDC summer YEP offering serves the San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita. This year the program will focus on providing training to youngsters during one-on-one sessions and occasional group workshops. Interested youth 14-27 can call (661) 362-5900 for details.

The Long Beach SBDC YEP targets 17-27 year olds, but welcomes anyone interested in starting a business. It is a 10-week program that takes students from concept to business plan development. For additional information, call (562) 938-5100.