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Recruiting starts for summer jobs

When some young people begin working this summer at a nonprofit group that rebuilds old computers, they will be getting more than paychecks.

The 25 to 50 participants also will receive vocational training, job-readiness counseling and even tips for managing finances.

Computers for Children Inc. is one entity that is participating in the city's Summer Youth Employment Program.

The city began a recruitment blitz Monday for job applicants and for businesses that might be interested in providing employment opportunities.

Applicants between the ages of 14 and 21 will work for six weeks in the summer. But they will be screened and trained before they are assigned to city facilities, community agencies and private-sector work sites.

The jobs program has expanded in recent years. Back in 2005, there were less than 1,200 participants. Annual enrollment has since ranged from 1,700 to a high of more than 3,600 in 2009. Over the past five years, the initiative has helped find more than 13,000 job opportunities for young people.

Mayor Byron W. Brown and other community leaders Monday visited Computers for Children at 701 Seneca St. in the city's emerging Larkin District. Executive Director Christine Carr said young workers receive vocational training before they embark on projects that involve refurbishing old computers.

"The fruit of their labor will go to schools and agencies throughout the area," Carr said.

Brown noted that the program has been placing a heightened emphasis on training in recent years. For example, he said participants are offered sessions that help them to prepare for college.

Private businesses that hire young people through the city could be eligible for tax credits. Companies and individuals can also sponsor a youth for summer employment by making a donation to the nonprofit Mayor's Fund to Advance Buffalo.

The jobs program is funded through several sources, including the city budget, federal anti-poverty dollars and state funds.

Job applicants must be city residents who turn 14 by May 31. The age cutoff is 21. A number of documents must be returned with applications, including a birth certificate, proof of residency and working papers for all applicants who are under 18. To obtain more information about eligibility, call 851-4170.

Job applications can be downloaded at www.city-buffalo.com or can be picked up at the city's Community Services Department in Room 1701 of City Hall. Applications must be returned by May 27.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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