Every summer, young people try to find jobs that enable them to gain important work experience, earn money and make a difference in their communities. These days, with a dismal economy shadowing them, that quest has become more difficult

Employment and job creation has been at the top of my  priority list, which is why Multnomah County has been an enthusiastic partner in the Summer Youth Connect (SYC) job program.


SYC is more than a summer youth employment program --it is a four-year mentorship, college prep, academic support network and job skills course for at-risk, Portland-area young men and women ages 16 to 21.

With support from Chair Cogen and my colleagues on the Board, we were able to double the number of participants from last year and offer 50 young men and women paid summer internship opportunities throughout Multnomah County.

We have had tremendous support of SYC this year, both within county departments and from external partners. The 50 SYC interns will be working in six county departments and in 28 different divisions. Additionally, eight SUN schools are hosting SYC interns, and I'm happy to thank members of the county's Business Advisory Committee, who are either hosting or sponsoring an intern. Exposure to the vast array of specialties and career tracks available at Multnomah County is a wonderful way for young people to begin to see the connection from school to a fulfilling and challenging professional life.

The success of this program is a credit to our County departments and employees who will supervise SYC participants and serve as mentors, role models and ambassadors of Multnomah County. Your support is greatly appreciated. SYC benefits the young people that participate and acquire professional and technical skills, and it benefits the County, as we continue to identify and recruit the well-qualified and diverse workforce of the future.

For more information see the SYC program website. To apply for a SYC youth next summer, contact Bryan Hockaday at 503-988-5219 orbryan.hockaday@multco.us. Applications for Summer 2013 will be accepted starting in April.