Best Practices - Vol. IV

Mayor Ronald J. Norick

Mayor's Job Fair and Summer Youth Program

According to Mayor Ronald J. Norick, "We are determined to give our youth a solid foundation for their future work lives. These services to youth literally would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Central Oklahoma business community and the Workforce Development Board."

The 1996 Summer Youth Program was kicked off by the second annual Mayor's Job Fair sponsored by Trigen Energy Corporation. The Fair was held in the Myriad Convention Center on March 23, during spring break. An intensive media campaign invited youth 16-years-old and up to attend, and over 800 came. Forty-seven employers were there to interview and hire. Many employers who could not be there made their applications available.

Following the Job Fair, employment referral services to link job-ready candidates with employer's job opportunities continued until the end of August. The youth completed an application for services, attended a group orientation meeting, then met one-on-one with a counselor. Their skills, abilities and interests were reviewed for a match with an employer's requirements. In addition to receiving three or more referrals, they were counseled about the skills needed to have a winning interview and landing a job.

In the Summer Youth Employment and Training Program almost 500 economically disadvantaged youth, ages 14-21, participated in combinations of basic remedial education, preparation for work and work experience services. Summer school for credit was also available. Youth received orientation and objective assessment prior to specific assignments. Among Program highlights: The Putnam City School District sponsored a six-week program that concentrated on reading, math, computer, and pre-employment skills. The work experience component provided such disciplines as landscaping and painting and involved helping construct new softball fields. The Annual Best for Life Program brought eight and ninth graders from Oklahoma City and Logan County to Langston University for three weeks. There they constructed a micro society in which, from mayor to maintenance worker, they learned that in life, everyone and every job is important to the functioning of society. The Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department employed 10 youths to assist in the "Play in the Park" Program. Twenty-four sites around the city welcomed neighborhood kids for arts, crafts, sports and other activities. Hitek Learning Centers offered a program in aviation technology for 14- and 15- year-olds. Hitek taught participants a mixture of basic aviation technology, math, English and job skills. Students logged hours on a flight simulator before taking to the skies in a light plane. Aviation-related field trips were also part of the curriculum.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (405) 297-2424

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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