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Nonprofit aimed at helping teens find good jobs launches 2022 summer opportunities program

Application window opens Feb. 1
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Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 27, 2022

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Ask just about any employer and they’ll tell you the labor shortage and difficulty retaining employees is ongoing, especially when it comes to jobs normally meant for teenagers.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a non-profit workforce development organization known as Y.O.U., is preparing to open up its annual summer youth jobs program, beginning on February 1.

The program pairs Cuyahoga County students still in high school between the ages of 14-19 with paying jobs and mentors to help them succeed.

“We all think of the usual fast food, but there’s coffee shops, book shops and rec centers and it runs the gamut,” Marietta Berry-Goodman, the community partnership coordinator at Y.O.U. said when describing the different kinds of jobs where students will work.

Seventeen-year-old Allana Appleby has participated in the program the past three summers, working at an assisted living facility and as a camp counselor at a nature center.

“To be honest, I was terrified,” she said of her starting her first job in 2019. Since then, she told News 5 she credits her mentors, including Sharon L. Bell with Shaker MyCom, with helping her succeed.

“It did help a lot,” she added. “It took away a lot of the nerves I had going in.”

Through Y.O.U.’s summer jobs program, up to nearly 4,000 teens are set up each summer at anywhere from 400-600 job sites throughout Northeast Ohio.

“If you can recall your first job, you learned some things from that first job,” Berry-Goodman added. “That first job prepared you.”

Organizers behind the program and its partners told News 5 this isn't just pairing kids wherever there's a “Now Hiring" sign.

“You know there’s a reason the sign never comes down, they also are firing,” Bell explained. “The turnover in those jobs are tremendous. We have such a relationship with our worksites, with our job coaches and supervisors that the kids are treated with respect.”

Applications for Y.O.U’s summer jobs program open up on February 1st. Students interested can learn more about this initiative byclicking here.

Employers interested in becoming a worksite can learn more here.