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Rosalinda Contreraz: Summer youth job fair #2 to be held April 28

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa


Latino teens and others still looking for a summer job will have a second chance to meet with potential employers at another Summer Youth Job Fair for teens ages 14-19 to be held Saturday, April 28, 2012, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Erie Street Market.


Toledo Mayor Mike Bell has publicly stated that aside from recreational activities, Toledo youth need opportunities to develop responsibility, accountability, and to occupy their time over the summer months when school is out.


But more than 2,000 teens showed up at a similar job fair last month, but only 16 of 20 businesses that committed ever showed up to interview young people for possible employment. That angered the mayor, who called a follow-up press conference and challenged other businesses to either “step up” and hire a Toledo teen this summer or contribute to what is hoped will be a $500,000 fund to put them to work on community projects.


“Competition is high and they need to absolutely dress to impress,” said Rosalinda Contreraz, the city’s new youth commission director. “I don’t recommend them coming in jeans. They should also bring a résumé with them.”


The Toledo Youth Commission director stated local library branches, churches, after-school programs, and other agencies have helped teens in recent weeks with résumé-writing workshops and classes to enhance their interviewing skills. There will also be a computer kiosk at the youth job fair so teens can file online employment applications. Ms. Contreraz also indicated translators will be on hand for children from Spanish-speaking families to apply for summer jobs.
 Beyond giving teens something to do and keep them off the streets, she believes a summer job is vital to their future as adults.


“First of all, it gives them experience, something they definitely need so they can start learning that work ethic,” said Ms. Contreraz. “Also, it gives them responsibility. It empowers them, enabling them to make their money and start prioritizing what they’re going to spend their money on. Sometimes the family is in need and it will help them.”


Right now, 20 businesses have committed to attend the summer youth job fair, the same number as one held March 31.


This time, however, Lucas County workforce development officials have a $1 million pool of state funding to hire an additional 500 youths who meet income-eligibility guidelines under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). More than 20,000 young people in Lucas County currently qualify. Information on how to apply for those jobs will be available at the fair.


“That’s going to allow them to place more people to work,” said Ms. Contreraz. “Hopefully, our job fair will be able to place additional youth. We’re hoping to fill in that gap of youth who are just above that (TANF income-eligibility) level and aren’t eligible for those positions. We hope to make this job fair all-encompassing.”


The youth commission director labeled the current job market as hard for adults and “twice as hard for youth.” Many adults have turned to fast-food and retail jobs that teens traditionally have held in non-school months and on weekends to make ends meet in their own households. That has led to an additional squeeze on summer employment opportunities for young people.


Ms. Contreraz is encouraging businesses who don’t have the extra income to hire a Toledo-area teen this summer to work with The Source to become a job site where those TANF dollars will pay a young person’s wages.


“They should definitely try to be a part of this because it’s an awesome mentoring experience,” she said. “It is a job-shadowing experience, but it’s something that every youth needs to have and open up their minds to possibilities and let them dream.”


Ms. Contreraz did now know how much has been collected so far for the special fund Toledo’s mayor hopes to use to fund internships and other work experience for young people on community-based projects at non-profit organizations.


Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/24/12 18:34:42 -0700.





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