Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro earlier last week welcomed 165 young people from throughout Dutchess County who attended the Department of Community & Family Services’ (DCFS) Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Youth Summit, coordinated by the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board (WIB). Dutchess Community College (DCC) hosted the event at its new DCC at Fishkill campus.

The SYEP provides qualified students, ages 14 to 20 and whose families qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a 6-8 week-long course, which included summer job placement, designed to help them prepare for future, permanent employment.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County continues to invest in our young people, as the time and resources we sow in them today will reap a multitude of benefits for them and our community for years to come. The skills these students are learning through the Summer Youth Employment Program will carry them into the career of their choice and help them continue their journey to self-sufficiency. I commend these young people for their perseverance to reach for a bright future for themselves and their families, and I thank the local stakeholders who have shared their wisdom with these young men and women.”

Students received job placements accompanied by mentorship – ranging in industry, skill level, and geographic location – and worked an average of 20 hours per week at various businesses throughout Dutchess County, including the Poughkeepsie City School District, Essie’s Restaurant, Great Song Farm, Mega Brain comics, Annabelle’s bakery, Taste Budd’s café, Red Hook Public Library, Diva Boutique, among others.

Training coincided with the students’ employment throughout the course of July and August, giving them the chance to learn skills, go back and apply those skills on the job, and then gather again to discuss which were successful.

Training topics included:

verbal and non-verbal communication;
stress management;
fundamental fiscal management concepts; and goal setting and employment strategies.

WIB Executive Director Louise McLoughlin said, “Following the past year-and-a-half, in which our young people were so adversely affected, the Summer Youth Employment Program remains a critical component of these students’ development, and the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board is proud to collaborate with the Department of Community & Family Services to present this vital program. Our students are gaining skills that they’ll take with them into whatever career they choose, as well as a strong foundation for a successful life.”

Among the day’s presentations were education about financial literacy and entrepreneurial training; discussions from DCC leadership regarding admission to the school and its aviation program, micro-credentials and enrollment; a job fair that concluded the day; and a workshop about Path to Promise, the County’s comprehensive effort to ensure all young people in the county have the assets they need to achieve their full potential as they grow into young adults. Attendees learned about and gave input about the Path to Promise, continuing to help guide the process that will benefit county youth moving forward. County Executive Molinaro recently signed legislation to establish a countywide Youth Opportunity Center on the site of the former YMCA building on Montgomery Street in Poughkeepsie, which will house various resources to develop children’s mental and physical health and will serve as the hub for the County’s Path to Promise efforts.

The Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board received $515,867 for the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program from the federally funded TANF program. The Summer Youth Employment Program’s goal is for the young participants to enjoy a positive work experience while giving them an opportunity to be productive, explore career options and earn a certificate that confirms their readiness for entry-level work, as defined by employers across the country.

Among the six Path to Promise are social relationships and learning, which correspond with several of the topic areas and skills covered in the Summer Youth Employment Program.