Reading Summer Youth Employment Initiative gives teens valuable work experience

Fifty students gathered at Reading City Hall Wednesday to begin the 2023 City of Reading Summer Youth Employment Initiative program. In its second year, the program provides city high-school-age students with part-time work opportunities in various departments.

In addition to the job opportunity, the program provides students with personal and professional development in leadership, financial literacy, post-secondary academic exposure, and professional networking skills.

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Participants will work 20 hours a week in various departments, including City Hall, Reading Area Water Authority, Fire Department, Public Works and the Reading Public Library.

Going into his Senior year at Reading High School, Donelle Lacey was excited to return to the program after working in the Public Works Department last year performing community work, cleaning up parks, painting benches and more.

“If it wasn’t in the program last year, I probably would have done nothing but just play basketball. I like the program because it gave me something to look forward to, you know, every morning when I was about to go out and do something, they gave me a sense of discipline getting the job done, then and there in the moment” said Lacey.

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11th grader Anthony Alicea also participated last year within Public Works and says he credits the program for helping build his confidence.

“I met a lot of people in Public Works. Everyone that was there was super nice. It was really amazing. They gave me opportunities to meet other people. It was just really cool. Lot of contacts. That was my favorite part. That and Wacky Water Wednesdays was cool too. All the little kids were really fun. It’s a very good program. I think the my did an amazing job” said Alicea.

Orientation Wednesday included speakers from different city departments detailing job requirements and professional development opportunities.

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