OIC’s Youth Connect is an eight week summer program that is geared towards connecting youth to the “World of Work.” The program’s hours are from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. beginning in June and ending in August.
Unemployment for youth is at an all-time high and unfortunately there are limited opportunities for summer positions in the Rocky Mount community for area youth. Needless-to-say, there is a great need to provide services and opportunities for youth in our community with a training and employment program. Area youth can learn valuable skills when working summer jobs. Understanding this truth and strategizing to meet this need, OIC decided to engage and support area youth through our “Youth Connect.” program.
During their eight week tenure, youth are in training classes at OIC 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The youth are taught soft skills, life skills, employment skills, career exploration, interviewing, good workplace habits and workplace cultural. Speakers are incorporated in the training classes to expose the youth to the working world in a variety of different professions.
The student is responsible for reporting to their workplace at 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm, properly dressed and ready to perform the duties which are expected of them. At the next class session, we discuss the previous day’s work experience and how it relates to our topics of discussion.
Youth Connect placed 40 students in many agencies including the Boys and Girls Club, OIC Medical Center, T J Maxx, Cooper & Associates Real Estate, Baskerville School, Heritage Retirement Center and many more. Susan Ball, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation made a statement regarding their Youth Connect Employee, Lenise Tillery, “I want to first THANK you for sending her over to me. She has been amazing! She was integral to the success of our event this past weekend and carried herself with such maturity and poise when working with the public and other staff members. I wish I could keep her year round! It has been an absolute pleasure working with her and I appreciate OIC's program for matching her with the Special Events division.”
Charles Washington, OIC’s Education Services Director, commented that “this program is extremely important to the development of young people’s understanding of what work is, the skills that it takes to succeed in any work environment and how to balance work, school and family. We are thankful that we have partners that provide us with support like Turning Point Workforce Development Board and the City of Rocky Mount. Without their help, we would not have been able to offer these services to our students.”