June 19, 1998

Poll Reveals 82 Percent of County High School Students Are Looking for Summer Jobs; New Program Bridges Gap Between Youth and Employers

A new poll of San Diego County high school students reveals that 82 percent of local youth will be looking for summer jobs this year with nearly half naming career experience as the most important factor.

The poll, conducted by the San Diego Workforce Partnership of more than 400 county-wide high school students during April, also found that only 7 percent are interested in careers in computers, engineering or high technology, and 25 percent are not sure how they are going to conduct their job searches.

To link today's youth with tomorrow's employment opportunities, the San Diego Workforce Partnership is introducing Summer YouthForce, a new program replacing Hire-A-Youth as the county's preeminent summer youth jobs campaign.

"The poll clearly indicates a tremendous demand in our community for quality summer jobs for our youth and also confirms what we have suspected —we must do a better job bridging the gap between today's youth and tomorrow's job opportunities, especially high technology," said Law-rence G. Fitch, president and CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Summer YouthForce targets youth and employers within each community of San Diego County. Youth can participate by filling out program pre-application forms at any local high school or visit any of the six countywide Career Centers, which assist in conducting job searches and preparing for interviews. A series of job fairs is being held throughout the county from now through June to facilitate the interaction of youth with potential private sector employers.

"Summer YouthForce is the result of an extensive amount of research and consultation involving the input of countywide education officials, employers, elected officials, community leaders, and especially parents and youth," said Fitch. "What we learned was that our program had to be more responsive to market demands, provide employers with more control with a streamlined hiring process, and offer all youth additional resources, job leads and preparation."

Eligible youth may qualify for subsidized positions throughout the community. All other youth will be referred to one of the local community job fairs for the opportunity to interview with a private sector employer.

"This process is more effective for employers and it empowers youth —with support from the neighborhood Career Centers— to conduct effective job searches," said Fitch.

The goal of the program is to establish key partnerships with local industry organizations and companies which expose youth to new opportunities in San Diego's emerging industries, such as high technology.

Parents, youth or employers interested in more information on how to apply or how to participate in a local job fair should call 1-888-884-SDWP (7397).