FORT LAUDERDALE – With the current worker shortage, building an employment pipeline is more important than ever. That’s part of the catalyst behind the Summer Youth Employment Program through Career Source Broward.
“In Wild Sea I was a hostess, a food runner, I helped with a little bit of everything, in HR, file, scan, and inventory today, I’ve been inserting things,” Alexia Bynes said.
It’s been just three days on the job for 18-year-old Bynes at the Riverside Hotel and she’s learned about 6 different positions. Bynes joins 16-year-old Kendrick McNair also working at the hotel. It’s the first job for both of them, and so far, it’s helped open their eyes to endless possibilities.
“I wasn’t really sure about a job at first, but I really like this place,” McNair related.
The SYEP program aims to help guide youth to a career that interests them, so before they’re placed, participants take several courses building up soft skills.
“It teaches me a lot, I didn’t know anything before I got here, they taught me how to be responsible,” McNair explained.
The two join about 700 young people taking part of the program which has 75 employers participating across various fields; they include construction, social services, dentistry, optometry and hospitality to name a few.
“It is a great program to introduce our youth, our future workforce to employers where they make good connections,” Career Source Broward President Carol Hylton said.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, there was nearly a 6% employment gain over the last year in the Miami-Dade/Fort Lauderdale area, and hospitality is currently facing the greatest shortage.
“Really, what it’s all about is building confidence amongst the students as they go into the workplace because as you’ve noticed with the students that you interviewed, they’re all a little bit shy at first,” Riverside Hotel General Manager Heiko Dobrikow said. Then, he says there’s a transformation after the young workers rotate through the various roles, a sense of confidence.
And it’s not just building experience, SYEP workers get paid $14 per hour.
“I’m gonna buy clothes for school and I just feel good that I don’t have to rely on my mom,” McNair said.
For McNair one of the biggest changes is a new sense of independence.
Career Source Broward is available not just to young students but to everyone in all stages of life looking for job placement.