Los Angeles, CA — Summer youth employment was not just a way for Nicole Graves to earn a little spending money. Participating in the HIRE L.A.’s Youth program last year was “path-forming,” said the 2007 Dorsey High School graduate who had only held one other job previous to working as a student journalist in the city’s Community Development Department, and was struggling to buy books during her first year of college at El Camino Community College.

But the job was not simply money, said Graves, who graduated from the Dorsey law magnet program and is majoring in political science and psychology.

“I met with people who have helped me in school. I met people looking to help me achieve,” explained the young woman, who was one of more than 200 youth who turned out for the official kick-off of L.A. City’s Summer Youth Employment program held on the Spring Street steps of City Hall.

She joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actress Tichina Arnold (who has worked with HIRE L.A.’s Youth for the last two years), LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District Marshall Drummond as well as local Councilmembers Jan Perry and Herb Wesson.

This summer Villaraigosa said the city will be able to place more than 16,500 youth ages 14 to 24 in jobs beginning this month, thanks in part to $20.3 million in federal stimulus dollars L.A. received.

Los Angeles is the first city in the nation to use the Workforce Investment Act funding.
Among the local agencies that will have job slots are the Los Angeles Urban League, which currently has 100 young people working in a pre-employment program; Yo Watts which has 112 positions available; Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC); and the Los Angeles Community Colleges District whose chancellor pledged to hire 2,000 youth.

Private employers such as Kaiser Permanente, Vons and the Los Angeles County Fair have pledged in excess of 1,800 slots. More than 9,000 additional jobs will be provided through the city. Low income youth ages 14-24 who live in the City of Los Angeles, have a social security card and a permit to work will be placed in nonprofit and government agencies, schools and hospitals.
The idea is to expose them to careers in public service and in high growth industries such as green technologies, environmental awareness, health care, education and childcare.

Youngsters will work a total of 120 hours during a six-week period, and most of the employment opportunities begin in July. Applications must be submitted beginning May 18. Interested young people can call (800) for a job or 311, or go to the nearest OneSource Youth Opportunity Center.

Here are the local agencies that have job programs.

* The Los Angeles Urban League is conducting two sessions of summer youth employment. The next one begins July 1, and the agency has targeted hiring at least 75 youth. Youngsters ages 14 to 24 work 20 hours a week, and the program begins with a 20-hour work readiness course. Interested people should call for an application: (323) 292-8111.

* Yo Watts expects to offer jobs to more than 100 youth and holds orientation every Friday at 4 p.m. for those age 18 and under. The program will be held at 1513 E. 103rd St. Young people 18 and older should call (323) 971-7676 to obtain an application.

* Jobs for Kids, a partnership between Holman United Methodist Church and West Los Angeles College is working to place at least 600 young people ages 14 to 24 who have a financial or academic need for summer employment. In addition to work, youth accepted to this program will earn college credits. The goal is to provide career opportunities as well as a job. The program begins July 6 and runs six weeks. Interested young people must submit an application no later than the end of May and participate in an interview process that includes a career-interest assessment as well as a work readiness evaluation. To obtain an application, contact the college at (310) 287-4261 or the church at 3320 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 731-7285. This program primarily serves youngsters who live in the city of Los Angeles, but there are a few slots available for those residing in the County of Los Angeles.

* People who live in the City of Compton should contact the CareerLink office at (310) 605-3050.

* Inglewood residents must go through the Southbay OneStop center to obtain an application and return it no later than May 15 to Jamie Cabrera, who is available from 1 to 5 p.m. only. OneStop is located at 110 S. La Brea Ave. in downtown Inglewood. Call (310) 680-3700.

* Los Angeles County also has positions called student workers and student professional workers that target youth age 16 and older. These positions are open until filled and are available in various locations and departments around the county. Interested individuals should got to the website www.dhr.lacounty.info, click on the student worker job opportunities heading and then select a job.

* People who love the outdoors and helping out may want to explore working in a summer camp. The American Camp Association website (www.acacamps.org) features a job board, and one interesting listing is Camp Mariastella located in Wrightwood. This is a residential camp for girls 7 to 14 years old, and operates weekly sessions from June 20 to Aug. 18. Positions available include cabin counselors for those 18 and older and counselor-in-training for 15 to 16 years olds. Workers stay on site through the summer, and room and board is included with the salary.
There are other positions to check out on the site as well.

* College students and graduates can apply for one of 125 arts internships being offered through the Los Angeles Arts Commission. Interns will work full time for 10 weeks in one of 95 nonprofit organizations across the county like the Lula Washington Dance Theater. The salary is $3,500 for the session.

Organizations must make their selections by May 15, consequently applications should be submitted immediately. To find out what positions are available go to the website lacountyarts.org or call (213) 202-3981.

* The Getty Museum has a multicultural internship program targeting outstanding students who are members of groups currently underrepresented in the museum and arts related professions; individuals of African American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander descent.

Young people must be currently enrolled undergraduates who either reside or attend college in Los Angeles County, will have completed at least one semester of college by June 2009, or who will complete their undergraduate degree by Sept. 1, 2009. Candidates can be sought from all areas of undergraduate study and are not required to have demonstrated a previous commitment to the visual arts. There are 107 positions funded at 81 different organizations around the county, and the intern works 10 weeks and earns $3,500. Individuals can contact the groups directly to see what positions are still available by visiting the website www.getty.edu/grants/pdfs/2009_la_organizations_intern_positions.pdf.