Summertime is in full swing around the Central Peninsula, and everywhere you look, young people are working their first job. Eight of those youth were placed in jobs by the Independent Living Center just this week.
“One of our core services here at the Independent Living Center is called transition services. And that is for students that are between the ages of 14 and 21, and that are enrolled in some sort of program that's either high school or a GED program or are on track to post secondary education,” said Maggie Winston, the assistant advocate at the LIC. “And so, what we try to provide are some work readiness skills for these students in order to get them like a jumpstart on independent living.”
The youth were placed with various employers around the area, including at Kasilof Wood and Metal, Eyeware Express, and Bailey’s furniture, among others.
“We have one student that just started at Everything Bagel,” Winston said. “There's a really unique position there called a ‘bagelista.’ And so we have a student that is currently learning how to perform bagelista duties.”
Winston says the students have some influence in what field they’d like to work in.
“So what we've done when we interviewed the students is ask them about the things that they're interested in and the things that they'd like to learn about and what kind of skills they have and what kind of skills they'd like to learn,” she said. “And so we try to place them individually based on those interview questions.”
She said employers are also getting a pretty good deal when it comes to bringing on a student.
“It's been an awesome community-building event too, because is it good for these kids, first and foremost, but it's good for business because we at the Independent Living Center are paying the wages,” Winston said. “So essentially we do all the hard stuff, all the paperwork, all the bookkeeping, and then when I go to a community employer and I say, ‘Hey, would you guys like some not only free labor but also you will be helping this individual and building a better community in general?’, and it's kind of hard to say no to that a lot of time.”
The students will work through July 12, and are making almost $10 an hour.