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Competition Grows at White Plains Youth Job Fair

More than 300 White Plains teens lined up outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel Monday armed with resumes, applications, and business casual attire for the city Youth Bureau's annual job fair. Raanique Carlton knew funding cuts to the summer employment program meant there would be a lot of competition for only 133 available positions.

“I want to be a camp counselor this year and to be more interactive with the kids,” said Carlton, 17, who previously worked as a scorekeeper at youth sports events through the summer youth employment program. “I’m kind of nervous because [the cuts] show that there’re not as many opportunities this year as there were last year... I just want to work this summer. I need money”

Carlton and other White Plains high school students interviewed with about 40 employers looking to fill everything from clerical jobs to the coveted camp counselor positions available at various city departments.

According to youth employment supervisor Patricia Staffiero, there were 285 positions – more than twice as many - available in the summer youth employment program last year. However, the Department of Finance has said the budget shows only 25 positions were cut.

Although the tightened market made some of the 14 to 21-year-olds applying at the job fair anxious, many said just applying to the Youth Bureau’s program was a good learning experience.

“It helps a lot of children our age because a lot of people aren’t good with applications and the Youth Bureau helps you with the resume and applications,” said Carlton, a White Plains High School junior.

The Youth Bureau also sends out a tip sheet to help applicants prepare and practice for interviews. It also seeks to train White Plains residents for the job market by enforcing a business casual dress code.

Jermaine Young, an assistant youth service aid, said he wished more young adults could have the same experience he did when he worked on a greening project through the summer youth employment program.

“It showed me the true value of money and taught me to take responsibility for myself and realize that I can’t always go running to mom and dad,” said Young. “We would love to give everybody a job, but financially, it’s impossible.”

Job fair attendees will find out if they got any of the gigs they applied for on June 20.

Does your business need extra help this summer? Are you looking for a nanny or weekend babysitter? If you're interested in hiring a White Plains teen this summer email me at strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com.

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