Putting the talents of teens to work. Businesses lend a hand in finding summer jobs for city youth
Norberto Ellemberger usually spends his workdays handling multinational clients for Coopers & Lybrand, one of the largest accounting firms in the United States. But for the past few months the bulk of his time has been devoted to a much different endeavor: helping to find summer jobs for thousands of New York's teen-agers. Mr. Ellemberger's firm is this year's ``lead company'' in a six-year-old campaign to rally local businesses to the cause of providing on-the-job experience for this city's huge reserve of unemployed young people. Over that span of years, the program has provided more than 100,000 summer jobs, making it among the biggest such efforts in the United States.Skip to next paragraph
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As the Coopers & Lybrand executive with direct responsibility for the ``Summer Jobs '86'' drive, Ellemberger is frequently rushing off to one part of this vast metropolis or another to promote the program. This afternoon it's the borough of Queens.
Before departing, however, he takes a few minutes to describe how the campaign is working toward this year's goal of 35,000 summer jobs.
``It's a very good example of how to put the private and public sectors together under one umbrella, and each one makes a major contribution,'' he explains. The public sector involvement is through schools and government agencies that serve as clearinghouses for the jobs created through Ellemberger's efforts. These agencies also do most of the work of matching jobs and applicants.
The private involvement, of course, comes through the employers who offer a slot for a young, usually unexperienced worker. Participating businesses range from the gargantuan -- AT&T, IBM, major banks -- to the tiny. This year the campaign is making a special effort to develop jobs with small retail businesses in the outlying boroughs, closer to many of the youngsters' homes. ``I like this,'' says Ellemberger, a situation ``where a kid is able to work directly for the owner. It can be a tremendous entry into the world of business.''
The jobs themselves range from errand boys, clerical positions, and receptionists to proof readers and researchers, even an elephant washer at the zoo. ``For some of them this is a very important experience in life, perhaps the first time they've had to go out and get up on time, and learn to manage money. And in some instances, it's a real help to families,'' says the Coopers & Lybrand executive. His company, by the way, hired 35 summer workers over the last two years.
One of them was Frederika Watson from the Bronx. An attractive young woman with her sights set on starting her own clothing business someday, Frederika spent the summer of '84 learning the accounts payable side of Coopers & Lybrand's operation. The following summer, she worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has been a consistent participant in the jobs campaign. She found she liked accounting work and is currently majoring in that at Manhattan's Baruch College. One of the best things she got from her summer work was ``connections,'' says Frederika, people who know her and what she can do.