For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus (845) 486-2000
Poughkeepsie, NY … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro welcomed 150 teens local teens to the County’s annual Youth Summit, held online today to adhere to social distancing guidelines and the prohibition of large gatherings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A collaboration between the County’s Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) and the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), the event celebrated the achievements of students in the WIB’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), taught attendees about financial literacy, discussed the skills needed for young men and women to be competitive in the current job market and provided an overview of Dutchess County’s “Path to Promise” initiative.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Our future leaders will emerge from every background and every corner of Dutchess County, and today’s online gathering offered valuable lessons to a diverse cross-section of our county – young men and women from various towns, cities and villages, all looking to make a difference in their community and their own lives. While we couldn’t meet in person this year during these unprecedented times, our annual summit persevered, with organizers providing our young attendees a shining example of determination and fortitude during adversity. We thank all who made today’s event a success, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of our summit for years to come.”
The Summer Youth Employment Program’s goal is for the young participants to enjoy a positive work experience while giving them an opportunity to be productive, explore career options and earn a certificate that confirms their readiness for entry-level work, as defined by employers across the country. Participants in the program 14 to 20 years of age, whose families qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). These students took part in a month-long course, which included summer job placement, designed to help them prepare for future, permanent employment. Training topics include problem-solving, teamwork, verbal and non-verbal communication, stress management, fundamental fiscal management concepts and goal setting and employment strategies.
In addition to welcoming remarks from County Executive Molinaro and State Senator Sue Serino, Karmen Smallwood, DCFS’ Assistant Commissioner for Youth Services, provided an overview of the County’s innovative “Path to Promise,” which strives to give ever local youth the resources necessary to be successful young adults. Ms. Smallwood outlined the six “Path to Promise” building blocks, or domains – learning, material basics, safety, family/social relationships, mental health and physical health – and discussed how they are each interconnected to affect an individual’s success.
Micah Jumpp, a 2017 John Jay High School graduate and founder of WCSD Change Movement, a group asking the Wappingers Central School District to commit to racial justice and inclusivity, provided today’s keynote address, discussing youth empowerment and community involvement, among other topics; and Jenny Fox, a marketing specialist with the TEG Credit Union, discussed financial literacy with attendees.
Sheila Appel, Sr. Manager, MHV Engagement Squad & MHV External Relations for IBM, discussed with attendees the skills that employers seek in the 21st Century; and she presented the WIB’s “Tree” Arrington Leadership Awards, named in honor of City of Poughkeepsie community leader and R.E.A.L. Skills Network founder Theo “Tree” Arrington who passed away in April, to each SYEP participant to recognize their work throughout the pandemic.
WIB Executive Director Louise McLoughlin said, “The Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board is proud to collaborate with Dutchess County and its Department of Community and Family Services to enhance the lives of local teens through the Summer Youth Employment Program. Our students have learned skills that they’ll carry into adulthood that will help them obtain employment that will greatly impact their lives.”