One of the many youth impacted by the Summer Job Connection program hard at work.

By Hayley Fedor

Originally created in 2019 by CareerSource Tampa Bay, the Summer Job Connection program is in full swing heading into its third year running. Backed by the Hillsborough County School District as well as the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners, the program is able to reach more youth and make a greater impact with each passing year.

The main goal of the program is to help Hillsborough County youth ages 16 to 24 get connected with employment during the summer. By not only assisting youth but encouraging them to explore employment opportunities, CareerSource hopes to be “starting the pipeline of the workforce in the new generation,” said Doug Tobin, director of public relations and marketing at CareerSource Tampa Bay.

Through the 2021 Summer Job Connection opportunities, youth receive more than just an internship or a job.

“We also have a program here that teaches them life skills like how to budget,” said Tobin.

The structure of the 2021 Summer Job Connection is broken up into three different programs that Hillsborough County youth are able to apply to. The first program is a part-time, paid work experience, earning $12 an hour for eight weeks and gaining hands-on, real-world experience in the workforce.

The second opportunity is virtual career exploration for four weeks centered around networking for the youth, having the ability to build connections with employers as well as peers and receiving compensation while doing it.

The last program available for applicants is a six-week community or leadership project that consists of strengthening professional skills of participants along with the completion of a community-based project.

From accounting to visual arts, these are just some of the diverse selection of jobs that youth in the area will be exposed to by participating in the Summer Job Connection program this year.

“Sometimes the first job can give ideas for what they want to do for the rest of their lives,” said Tobin.

CareerSource Tampa Bay looks to provide around 1,000 Hillsborough County youth with employment opportunities this summer through the program.

The 2021 Summer Job Connection programs are set to take place from June to July. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 12.

For more information on the CareerSource 2021 Summer Job Connection and to find the online application, visit http://www.careersourcetampabay.com/summer-job-connection/.