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White Plains Slashes Summer Youth Employment Jobs

This article was changed on Friday to reflect new figures given at a Common Council meeting on Thursday night.

Fewer slots with the White Plains’ Youth Bureau’s summer employment program coupled with the slumping economy have tightened the summer job market for high school students like Anedteon Fisher.

Fisher has worked at the Youth Bureau helping out with an after school program for about a year. Although he enjoys it, Fisher wants to get a more active job through the summer employment program.

“I’m looking for anything that’s physical,” said Fisher, a junior at the Community School . “As long as everything works out I’m excited for the summer.”

Dwindling funds from the city and federal programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families have prompted the Youth Bureau to cut the number of summer positions it offers by more than half, according to Youth Employment Supervisor Patricia Staffiero. Staffiero said last summer 285 White Plains residents between the ages of 14 to 21 worked in various city departments, and this year the program has 133 available slots. According to the Department of Finance, page III-206 of the budget shows only 25 positions being cut from the summer youth employment program.

Getting a summer gig through the Youth Bureau was difficult last year, according to Aldho Encisn, a junior at the Community School. Encisn said he knew a lot of people turned down for the Youth Bureau’s summer employment program in 2010.

“Of course they were upset,” said Encisn, as he filled out an American Eagle application at the Galleria mall. “They had nothing to do.”

Patricia Staffiero has supervised the youth employment program for 11 years and said this year’s budget cuts were the steepest she’s ever seen.

“Some kids really need the money to buy clothes and books,” said Staffiero. “It’s hard when you know they need the money, but you don’t have the resources to support all the kids.”

The summer youth program’s funding got trimmed by about a quarter this year, according to Frank Williams, the executive director of the Youth Bureau.

The Youth Bureau has begun working with the Business Council of Westchester and the One-Stop Employment Center to find jobs for 18 to 24-year-olds, which Staffiero hopes will help free up more positions for younger applicants.

“City funds and TANF are drying up,” said Staffiero. “That’s why the older youth initiative is so important. It’ll allow us to have the younger youth learn more about the application process through the summer program.”

Is your business looking for extra help this summer? If you're interested in hiring a teen this summer email me at strangle@mainstreetconnect.us.

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