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Kristen Lerch-Kosin, an independent Section 3 Employment Program Partner, purposely arrived late and unprepared for her presentation, showing the kids exactly what not to do on their first day of work

The District of Columbia Housing Authority’s (DCHA) Do Your B.E.S.T. Summer Youth Employment Program started on June 21 with close to 80 participants. The “B.E.S.T.” stands for Building Excellence through Service and Training and it is fondly called DYB. The second youth employment program in which DCHA participates – the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program – doesn’t start until July 1.

DYB is a DCHA Office of Resident Services (ORS) program in its 16th year and is open only to children aged 14 to 18 from families in DCHA-administered programs. The goals of the program are: (1) to give young people from public housing an opportunity to experience work in the public and private sectors and (2) to challenge them to grow professionally and personally through a structured employment program that includes community service and youth leadership principles.

While some of the youth work in DCHA offices, the majority work with local companies and organizations. The youth receive paid internships that foster the development of skills necessary for them to transition to a college setting or the workforce. This year the program has 36 worksites, including the Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

Out of 150 applicants to the program, 111 received interviews and 79 were selected to participate. The students participated in an interview workshop where they received their designated interview topics; interviews were selected by ORS staff based on interests the youth submitted in their applications.

All DYB participants had a mandatory business etiquette workshop on June 21, and they attended sessions on financial literacy, conflict resolution and interpersonal communication, and job readiness. The sessions were instructed by representatives from Operation Hope, DC Department of Mental Health, and one of DCHA’s Section 3 Employment Program partners, respectively. Job placements are decided by matching the selections of participating agencies with kids’ preferences.

In addition to employment, participants also attend a team building exercise, perform community service and attend a college tour. This year’s tour will be in Atlanta. Also, new for this year, the program will include a career initiatives component, designed to get participants to think past just summer employment to what they would like to do for the rest of their lives.

Last modified: 6/25/2013 9:35:15 AM