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Pittsburgh will hire 554 young workers for various summer jobs |

Pittsburgh will hire 554 young workers for various summer jobs

Jeremy Boren
| Wednesday, May 27, 2009 12:00 p.m

Workers can’t be picky about how they will spend six weeks of summer in Pittsburgh’s youth employment corps.

The $1.65 million program will be able to employ 554 workers ages 14 to 21, but participants can’t choose whether they will clear trails in the summer sun or help with clerical work inside a bank.

The selection and assignment process will be random and based in part on financial need, said Judy Hill Finegan, a city personnel department manager.

Young workers will be able to earn $7.25 an hour while working 30 hours a week, meaning they can expect to make about $1,305 between July 6 and Aug. 14, she said.

“This is a good way to stimulate the economy,” she said. “You give kids at least $1,300 in their pocket, and they are going to go shopping.”

The employment program grew from 197 youths in 2007, to 272 in 2008. In those years, youths worked on outdoor conservation projects such as trail maintenance, garden tending and park clean-ups through the Student Conservation Association.

This year the program will assign about half the participants to internships with Pittsburgh companies and nonprofits. The other half will perform outdoor conservation work on city land. Applicants can indicate a preference, but their choices aren’t guaranteed.

“I wanted to include internships so that our youths have the opportunity to experience on-the-job training firsthand,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement.

Finegan would not name the 16 groups that agreed to match students with employers willing to take interns. The list of employers must be approved by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board at its June 12 meeting, said spokeswoman Michelle Massie.

The nonprofit oversees the local Pennsylvania CareerLink program and monitors how money from the federal economic stimulus package is spent on job creation and growth.

Pittsburgh’s employment program relies on $1 million in stimulus package funding, $500,000 in state grants and a $150,000 contribution from The Pittsburgh Foundation.

The Student Conservation Association will keep about 140 youths busy with “green” jobs such as trail construction and maintenance and urban gardening, said Tamica Mickle, the association’s regional program manager.

“There will be plenty of jobs. We’ll be working all over the city,” Mickle said.

In addition to teaching participants to work for their earnings, the program will include 18 hours of paid “work force readiness training,” a series of lessons designed to help young people sharpen interview skills and define career goals, she said.

Applications will be accepted until June 10. Visit to download an application online.

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