Flagstaff, AZ, July 23:2010:  A collaborative effort between representatives of Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona and Coconino Community College produced the first ever "First Jobs Summer Youth Employment Program" graduating class. Seven area teens participated in The First Jobs Summer Youth Employment Program which focused on building job skills through classes and workshops and hands-on work experience.  In the end the teens received a certificate, new skills and even a paycheck for their hard work.
 
The program which started on June 7th and will end on August 20th is the only youth employment program in Flagstaff.  It all started with a conversation between David Hirsch, President and CEO at Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona and John Cardani, Executive Director at Coconino Community College's Community & Corporate Learning Division (CCL).
 
The idea stemmed from a concern by both parties about the difficulty teens are having acquiring work in today's highly competitive job market. The program included a combination of real work experience along with a workplace readiness course provided by CCL. Skills like critical thinking, basic work ethic, reading comprehension, financial literacy and accounting, resume writing; interviewing and searching for a job were all part of the curriculum developed by Coconino CCC'S Community & Corporate Learning  Coordinator Alex Frawley and taught by CCC instructor Terry Lawson. Teen participants also received paid work experience at the store at the Goodwill Good Neighbor Center, working a variety of positions within the retail and processing areas'.
 
President and CEO of Goodwill David Hirsch said, "The First Jobs Summer Youth Employment Program isn't just about getting a paycheck, it's about the total experience and preparing the students for the job market, college and beyond." Executive Director at CCC John Cardani, addressed the graduates saying, "Learning is life-long and I want to challenge all of you to continue pursuit of knowledge after high school through higher education."
 
Students were presented with a certificate and asked what they learned through their experience with the program. Teen participant Riley Cupp said, "I learned that teamwork is the most important thing if you want to be successful in the workplace." Other students said that they learned about interviewing, communication, resume building and working with people with disabilities. David Steel received a special award for perfect attendance which David Hirsch said represented what all employers are looking for in an employee: dependability. Goodwill plans to offer the First Summer Jobs Youth Employment Program again next summer.  For more information on the program call the Goodwill offices at 928-526-9188.
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