Senator Robach Secures Funding for City of Rochester's Summer of Opportunity Program
(Thursday, April 25, 2013) - Mayor Thomas S. Richards announced today that the City's Summer of Opportunity (SOOP) work and career exploration program for city youth will expand its scope due to the efforts of State Senator Joe Robach.
"Senator Robach has secured almost half of the funding for this program, which means more than 400 city high school students will have an opportunity to spend their summers in meaningful jobs or exploring modern career alternatives," said Mayor Richards. "The Senator's commitment to Rochester's future is well known, and he has demonstrated it yet again with this grant. The people of Rochester are truly fortunate to have such an effective advocate in Albany."
"I was happy to acquire the resources to continue to partner with the City on this wonderful program creating jobs and future career opportunities for our city's young people," said Senator Robach. "Accessing quality private-sector jobs and other forms of employment not only derives income, but exposes these young people to real life work experiences and a career path."
Senator Robach has secured a $250,000 Summer Jobs Program grant from the N.Y. State Department of Labor, which will be applied toward the $548,764 SOOP budget. The remaining funds will come from the City's Department of Youth Services (DRYS) budget and the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
SOOP provides city high school students, ages of 14-20, with a job or a career-exploration opportunity. The City collaborates with RochesterWorks! Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to conduct joint recruitment and process applications.
SYEP sponsors additional students throughout Monroe County who meet eligibility guidelines - 90 percent of youth sponsored by SYEP are city residents.
More than 400 youth are sponsored by SOOP and about 500 are sponsored by SYEP.
Youth who are 14 and 15 years old are placed in "Career Exploration" programs at local non-profit organizations, including Baden Street Settlement; Action for a Better Community; IBERO; and the Boys and Girls Club.
The career exploration paths cover such fields as entrepreneurship; landscaping; multi-media production; precision machining and community organizing. These youth receive a $600 stipend for the summer.
High school students in ages 16 through 20 are assigned jobs at one of these partner agencies, or with the City, and are paid at least $7.25 an hour.
DRYS and RochesterWorks! are currently processing the applications of the 2013 SOOP class and the program will begin July 8 and continue through August.