Students Employment Program Develops Young Leaders

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Staff Report

At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year the Milford Workforce Development Commission will once again be asking for high school students to participate in the Milford Student Employment Program. An initiative driven by the Economic Development Advisory Panel, under the Economic Strategic Plan adopted by City Council in 2011, the program promotes workforce development for local teenagers by providing work history, educational experiences and financial support to prepare them for college or technical training after graduation.

Through research compiled from the City of Milford’s Economic Strategic Plan, City officials learned that 2 out of every 3 students that graduate from Milford High School do not return to the City of Milford after college. Although an emphasis has been placed on Economic Development and job creation, the City of Milford has tagged this statistic as being a main focal point on the road to prosperity. Working with school leaders, students and local businesses, the Workforce Development Commission hopes to increase retention of young Milford leaders by connecting them with local leaders and introducing them to the opportunities available at home.

“We’ve been successful with a relatively small number of participating employers, and we are thankful for their participation,” said David Markowitz, Chairman of the Milford Workforce Development Commission. “However, there are always more qualified students looking for work than there are participating businesses.  If we can increase the number of employers, we can significantly increase the number of students benefiting from the program.”

Much more than an active employment center, the program helps these students develop skills associated with long-term success and prepares them for college or to help offset expenses associated with further education. Supporting the financial future for these students, the Workforce Development Commission has developed a fund agreement with the Delaware Community Foundation. In addition to the paycheck that the student takes home, a fund has be set aside for each student that can be used at the end of the program for future advancement. The student, the employer and the Workforce Development Commission each donate $1 to the fund for each hour the student works, totaling $3 per hour. It is estimated that a student beginning the program in their junior year could accumulate as much as $4,800 for his or her future education and earn approximately $13,000 while working in the program.

“The program allows Milford students to gain valuable work experience as local business owners help the City of Milford and the Milford School District continue our efforts in developing our future leaders,” said Mayor Bryan Shupe, who is a member of the Milford Workforce Development Commission. “We will work with students to discuss what their future career goals are and help develop a plan with business owners to assist students in developing the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare them for that future.”

At the beginning of the school year, students participating in the program will be interviewed by the Milford Workforce Development Commission and matched with participating businesses. Businesses will then have the opportunity to interview the student to be sure the program is the correct fit for both the student and business. Milford High School juniors and seniors selected for the Milford Student Employment Program will be employees of the businesses and are able to work year-round while they are high school students.

The Milford Workforce Development Commission is continuing to look for businesses to partner in the Milford Student Employment Program. “These students will use the skills they have learned at MHS in the real jobs they accept in the Milford community,” said Shawn Snyder, Assistant Principal at Milford High School and member of the Milford Workforce Development Commission. “Our students have studied finance, business and marketing techniques in their pathway courses and have a lot of talent to share with the local business world.”

Businesses that would like to participate in this year’s Milford Student Employment Program can contact Dave Markowitz at 302-422-8003 or davengloria@verizon.net. Milford High School students will be given a chance to participate during the first several weeks of the upcoming school year and can contact Assistant Principal Shawn Snyder at 302-422-1610 or SSnyder@msd.k12.de.us if interested.