ORLANDO — State and local leaders marked the success of 2023 Summer Youth Employment Programs offered by 21 of Florida’s local workforce development boards. Through these programs, which offered stipends or wages, students had the opportunity to build skills valued by employers that can help them at work and in life. With help from the CareerSource Florida network and employers statewide, nearly 7,000 young Floridians, ages 14-24, spent their summer vacation exploring potential future careers and gaining valuable work experience.
“Giving young people, particularly those who face economic and other challenges, access to career education and opportunities to gain skills can be a game changer,” said Adrienne Johnston, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida. “These youth will be returning to school or continuing in the workforce with new skills and knowledge that will have a long-term impact on their futures.”
“Florida’s strategic focus on workforce education and development under Governor DeSantis’ leadership is what makes Florida’s top performing economy stand out,” said J. Alex Kelly, Florida Secretary of Commerce. “This dynamic partnership between CareerSource Florida and the private sector through the Summer Youth Employment Program is a win-win investment in our state’s future leaders and Florida’s competitive industries.”
The Governor has set a goal for Florida to become the No. 1 state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. To help achieve this goal, top priorities include ensuring more Florida students are introduced to future career opportunities that drive our state’s economy and gain work experience before they graduate from high school.
This summer, local workforce development boards offered summer career exploration and employment programs ranging in duration from three to nine weeks. Employers from the public, private and nonprofit sectors opened their doors to youth looking to earn while they learn. Students honed employability skills, received financial literacy training and put what they learned into practice by going to work in sectors including aviation, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, hospitality, financial services and government as well as nonprofits.
“Thanks to the summer youth employment program, I learned to step out of my comfort zone, develop new skills and discover what I want to do in the future,” said Sebastian Proto-Cabrera, summer youth employment program participant. “I met some incredible people along the way, and it made a huge impact on my life.”
In the Orlando area, CareerSource Central Florida hosted a program for more than 1,200 students aged 15-19. With the option to choose from three five-week tracks, students spent time learning about a variety of careers, training or interning, with the potential for a longer placement in some cases.
“Young adults often enter the workforce lacking confidence to apply for jobs. Participating in our programs boosts their abilities, and it shows businesses these young workers are motivated learners,” said Pam Nabors, President and CEO of CareerSource Central Florida, which serves Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Sumter counties. “Through immersive employment experiences and career training, our students are exposed to careers that align with their interests and are important to our regional economy to help shape the future workforce of Central Florida.”
“The Hyatt Regency Orlando has been participating in the summer youth employment program for three years and it is a rewarding experience for our company to provide work life opportunities for youth in our community,” said Mark Havard, Director of Human Resources at Hyatt Regency Orlando. “Our interns bring energy, new perspectives and are eager to learn and contribute to their roles. We retained half of our summer youth interns after the program. The future is bright for Central Florida’s workforce.”
Summer youth employment programs are one example of how the CareerSource Florida network prepares in-school and out-of-school youth for future careers. All 24 local workforce development boards offer year-round support to youth seeking employment and training help at the network’s 100 career centers. Job seekers can learn more about workforce services in their community by finding their local team at careersourceflorida.com.