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DYCD, CB10 look to create summer internships

Community Board 10 is looking to the Bronx’s business community to create 100 new internships for local youth in the summer of 2012.

The plan, which is being proposed by the Community Board 10 Youth Committee and the Department of Youth and Community Development, may face a tough sell before it’s presented to the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, unless there is some star power behind it, Bronx Chamber board member John Bonizio said.

DYCD deputy director Andre Joseph made a presentation to Bonizio and CB 10 Youth Services Committee chairman Robert Bieder at the CB 10 board office on Thursday, April 28.

Joseph spoke about a program that would be part of DYCD’s existing New York City Internship program. This summer, DYCD will help roughly 250 high school juniors and seniors, as well as college freshman and sophomores, get internships.

“The problem is that we have way more applicants than spots, so we want to create 100 jobs among the roughly 600 member Bronx Chamber of Commerce,” Bieder said. “The applications will come to CB 10 first, and those from the district will be given priority.”

Having the Bronx Chamber of Commerce take on summer interns, who would be with them for seven weeks and cost roughly $3,500 per student, has several key advantages to the businesses who agree to the arraignment, Joseph said.

Among the advantages are that the high school students are already vetted by the agency, and their school transcripts, extracurricular activities, and interests are all collected and cataloged.

They also have been through a series of three workshops dealing with topics like conflict resolution in the workplace, setting goals and establishing expectations, and interviews and communication skills, and take part in mock interviews, Joseph said.

The agency likes the idea of partnering with Community Board 10, but would prefer to have the younger students, particularly those in high school, be given priority over the older students because they already have more opportunities for internships.

The young people would be paid at least minimum wage, or a stipend, for the time they are with the companies.

“The Mayor really takes this to heart,” Joseph said. “We are now in our sixth year. Many interns come back to their employers and are re-hired. Some change their major in college as a result of summer employment.”

The chamber would be more open to hearing out DYCD if Mayor Bloomberg came personally to make an appeal in favor the internship program, which he created citywide, Bonizio said.

There are some issues with the program as it is planned, especially costs to businesses who may never see the kids they are training again, he said.

“I went to some really great schools, and there are things that I learned in businesses that I could never have learned in school, and that is why I believe in the program,” Bonizio said. “The mayor needs to come up here and pitch this idea, because it needs some star power behind it.”

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