Most of us can recall our first summer job and what it meant for us at the time and in ensuing years. I certainly do. A good experience laid the foundation for future success.
At PAL, we are laying the foundation for 1,885 teens, ages 16-24, to pursue their dreams and become productive members of New York City by placing them in meaningful jobs this summer.
In recent decades, young people of color have had fewer opportunities for summer jobs. The challenge is even greater for young people in foster care or those involved in the court system. On the other hand, studies show that high-school students who work while enrolled earn higher wages when they graduate from college.
PAL is a part of the solution by offering meaningful, minimum-wage jobs to young people, including 350 vulnerable youth in foster care and in the juvenile justice system.
We couldn’t have made this impact without your support, and without critical funding from New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Moreover, our goal to provide sustainable career paths is possible because of our partnering employers who give these young people a chance to prove themselves at their first jobs.
PAL offers teens a variety of opportunities in the business, nonprofit and public sectors. Our 300 partnering employers include the NYPD, Queens District Attorney's Office, Harlem Hospital, 16 Handles yogurt shops, Advocates for Children, YMCA of Greater New York, Modell’s and ASA College.
Our program staff coach teens to strengthen their job skills and build their career networks. PAL teen Jeneisa got her first summer job through us at a local company in Queens. The company was so happy with her job performance that they asked her to stay on after summer to help them finish a few projects.
Jeneisa has returned for her second year as a summer youth employee. She hopes that New Yorkers will continue to support PAL’s summer jobs program. “You make a difference in the lives of young people. It’s not about the money; it’s about the work ethic and the different people you meet that are so important about summer jobs.”
This fall, Jeneisa is going to college to continue her education. Please join me in wishing her and all our PAL teens the best of what they can be.
Frederick J. Watts