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 Work Experience

CCA's Self Development program is a job readiness and work exploration program for youth in Syracuse between the ages of 13 and 17. This experience gives young people the support they need to enter and succeed in the work place. Self-Development is a "win-win" program; youth gain valuable real work experience as well as a stipend, and small businesses gain an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young person.

Young people continually list, "getting a job," among their highest priorities. They are always motivated but lack an understanding of what "working" really entails. One participant described her experience as follows:

"I really did change. We learned how to carry ourselves in a ‘mannerable' way. We were all rough and tough. They taught us how to stay safe and productive."

Youth are recruited from CCA's programs in the alternaives schools or juvenile justice program. All youth participate in workshops that address such issues as dependability, appropriate dress, customer service, how to relate to a supervisor, problem solving and general workplace expectations. Each young person is assigned to a business or not-for-profit site, generally in their neighborhood. The Youth Employment Specialist supports each youth and is available to the employer every day to respond to any questions or concerns.

Job readiness training is offered year-round while work experience opportunities are during the Summer program. The youth is expected to be at their site 4 hours per day, Monday through Thursday for 7 weeks. On Fridays youth attend a Job Club offering support and additional job readiness and live skills education. They receive a stipend from the CCA. There is no financial obligation on the part of the business.

Participation Requirements/Student:

  • Must be on-time
  • Must be prepared to work
  • Must have proper attire
  • Must behave appropriately on the job

Participation Requirements/Business:

  • Provide a real work experience for youth
  • Maintain time sheet for youth employee