By William J. Ford
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks made an ambitious goal to double participants in this year’s annual summer youth employment program from 3,000 to 6,000.
Not only did that happen by expanding the age range from 14 to 22, but the county also removed a cap that will allow those who participated two straight years to return.
More participants led to an increase in employers from 126 to 150. The county received about 10,000 applications with about 80 percent who applied for the first time.
“We made changes to welcome more people into that program,” Alsobrooks said during her State of the County address Tuesday in College Park. “This showed us that our young people are hungry for jobs and work experience.”
To accommodate this year’s participants, Alsobrooks plans to greet the teenagers and young adults at 11 a.m. Monday at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. According to an invite sent to those accepted in this year’s program, former NFL players Brandon Coleman and Kyle Arrington are scheduled to appear.
Little Bacon Bear, a DJ and host on WKYS-FM (93.9), plans to be in attendance to celebrate those involved before the six-week summer employment begins June 24 until Aug. 2.
Those ages 14-17 will earn $9.80 an hour and others ages 18-22 receive $11.50 an hour for jobs in various fields such as technology, health care and agriculture. Some of the participating employers are Six Flags, Pepco and the county’s parks and recreation department.
Although the atmosphere plans to festive, participants must dress business casual.
Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III revamped the county’s Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) in 2012 for those ages 15 to 19. Last year, about 3,300 obtained employment at more than 100 public and private sector agencies and businesses.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.