July 9, 2020 (Hartford, CT) — Capital Workforce Partners (CWP) is pleased to announce that the Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program (SYELP) will serve nearly 1,500 youth throughout North Central Connecticut at a time when youth and families are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and high unemployment. The program begins July 6, 2020 and runs until August 28, 2020.

SYELP supports low-income youth in summer employment and training opportunities leading to career pathways, and has been redesigned to provide a safe, high-quality experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. “SYELP is a vital component of addressing the skills gap that exists in Hartford and throughout the region. We must cultivate our future talent pipeline – the supply of young people with the soft skills and technical skills needed to respond to the COVID RECOVERY in industries including healthcare, manufacturing, construction, information technology, among others,” said CWP President & CEO Alex Johnson. “SYELP supports the state’s future talent pipeline by providing low-income, disengaged, and disconnected youth who might otherwise lack the skills and credentials to fill these job openings with work experiences that will increase their educational attainment and work readiness.”

The sources of SYELP funding include a $1 million commitment from the City of Hartford, $300,000 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, $150,000 from the Travelers Foundation, $60,000 from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, $15,000 from the Bank of America Foundation, and $34,500 from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA). Funds from the State of CT Youth Employment Program, and the CT Department of Children and Families have also been committed.

This year’s SYELP will provides local youth the opportunity to engage in both virtual training and safe work-based learning experiences that contribute to future career pathways successes. The programs are designed to develop career readiness for youth between the ages of 14 and 24 through a six-week program comprising virtual training modules and worksite placements in high-demand sectors at several hundred worksites.

This summer programming would not be possible without the aid of committed municipalities, local businesses and regional employers that help youth develop and expand their career-readiness skills in various high-demand industries and occupations. “The Town of East Hartford is excited to be part of the regional 2020 Summer Youth Employment program, with the goal of connecting youth with summer employment and engagement opportunities in the Greater Hartford Region,” said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc. “The program is instrumental especially during these unprecedented times, offering invaluable virtual and on-site training and learning experience for youths, and leading them to career pathways so they can be the best version of themselves. We are dedicated to supporting the collaboration of organizations that have joined together to make this program possible.”

“With the early closure of school and a nationwide recession, providing work opportunities for young people is more important than ever, and we’re proud to partner with Capital Workforce Partners to make sure summer youth employment continues in these challenging times,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “Young people will benefit from the career readiness training and on the job experience that the summer youth employment program provides, and getting this year’s program up and running posed unprecedented challenges. I want to thank all the partners who came together alongside the city and the state to make summer youth employment possible this year, including the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the Travelers Foundation, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the Bank of America Foundation, and more.”

“The Hartford Foundation continues to support the Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program recognizing the vital role it plays in offering Greater Hartford youth with an invaluable, real-world opportunity to learn what takes to hold a job and what’s expected in the workplace,” said Hartford Foundation Director of Grants and Partnerships Judy McBride.“ As we continue to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world, we appreciate Capital Workforce Partners’ efforts working with other nonprofits to modify the programming to ensure the safety of participating youth who will receive a paycheck for their work, which will assist them and their families during these challenging times.”

The SYELP summer engagement activities are made possible through critical partnerships with a significant number of community-based organizations and employers in North Central Connecticut.

“While the pandemic has changed the way we are living our lives, it is imperative that our commitment to our most vulnerable young people remain steadfast. JPMorgan Chase is proud to support the efforts to create meaningful career readiness experiences for Hartford’s youth this summer through SYELP. We applaud the City of Hartford for helping to keep our young people on a path to success even during the most challenging times,” Mark Telesmanick, Chase Market Director, Hartford

“CHEFA is proud to support Capital Workforce Partners and the statewide Workforce Boards with grant funding through CHEFA’s FY 2020 Targeted Grant Program.  This funding will have a meaningful impact on youth during this challenging time.  We are pleased to be able to participate in this important initiative as we seek to facilitate efforts addressing workforce needs” stated Jeanette W. Weldon, CHEFA’s Executive Director.

SYELP is particularly important given the impact of COVID-19, which has led to high urban youth unemployment and disconnected youth issues. Heightened concerns include high school seniors leaving with a significantly reduced capacity to enter a successful post-secondary college/career pathway. Additionally, COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color where economic disparity already exists in low-income families, youth, and less-educated workers. This year’s SYELP program has been redesigned to provide a comprehensive virtual venue of summer youth employment options, given the “Social Distancing” requirements by the State of Connecticut, which reduces the availability of in-person work experience for youth. Other resources offered this summer are limited community service projects and mental health services.

“As we collectively navigate the challenges brought on by the coronavirus and the need to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, we remain committed to supporting youth in our local community by connecting them to jobs, skills-building, and leadership development,” said Joe Gianni, Hartford Market President of Bank of America. “Investing in our youth through the City of Hartford’s Summer Youth and Learning Program will provide guidance to students seeking a pathway to success.”

SYELP have been shown to increase participant school attendance, build soft skills (including emotional/conflict management), reduce incidences of youth violence, and bolster participant job readiness and post-secondary aspirations. For more information on summer youth programs and opportunities, please visit: https://capitalworkforce.org/syelp/ or http://youthreconnect.org/summer-resources/.