Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has announced a summer youth employment program that will provide economically disadvantaged teens and young adults in the County with paid internships and work readiness training.

Mercer County’s Summer Youth Jobs Connection, which is being funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Office of Youth Programs and coordinated by the Mercer County One-Stop Career Center, will benefit more than 100 youth ages 16 to 24 with summer employment meant to encourage a successful transition to the workforce.

“We welcome this opportunity to help young people in our communities acquire skills and knowledge they may need to compete in the job market,” Mr. Hughes said. “A paid internship provides valuable work experience, and employers in Mercer County can help build our future workforce by providing summer jobs and developing young talent at no cost to their company.”

Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said, “We’re proud to make this investment in the youth of Mercer County. This program will help more than 100 young workers take their first steps in their long career paths this summer. The employers who hire these teenagers and young adults will be investing in the workforce of tomorrow without having to absorb the cost of summer employees – a win-win for the interns and their employers.”

Summer Youth Jobs Connection is an eight-week program that begins July 8 and concludes Aug. 30. Participation is open to Mercer County youth ages 16 to 24 who meet the criteria. Interns will be paid $10.50 an hour for 24 hours a week, including four hours of work readiness training, and will receive transportation assistance and other support services as appropriate. Target enrollment is a minimum of 110 youth. Interns’ wages and work readiness training will be paid by Mercer County through the funding provided by the State. In addition to learning new skills and being introduced to new career options, interns will be taught the basics of work, including employee benefits, pay schedules, attendance and dress code. Their work experience will also cover soft skills training such as financial literacy, resume building, entrepreneurship skills, diversity training and prevention of workplace harassment training.

Mercer was one of seven counties, along with the City of Newark, that were awarded funding by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under its Summer Youth Employment Pilot Program (SYEPP). The areas were selected for the pilot program based on the combined criteria of high rates of youth poverty, youth unemployment and justice-involved youth.

The SYEPP funding is provided through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Employers interested in the Mercer County Summer Youth Jobs Connection program should contact Kassia Bukosky at 609-989-6066 or Youth interested in the program should contact the One-Stop Career Center’s Youth Services Department at 609-989-6206 or

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