Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Recipient of a $10,000 Polk County Community Betterment Grant

Posted 7/19/2021

​SYEP is a Program at the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families for Low-Income and At-Risk Youth​

  • The SYEP Provides Work Readiness and Employment Opportunities for Youth, Ages 14-21.

  • The Ten-Week Program Includes a Paid Work-Based Opportunity.

  • More than 400 Youth Have Successfully Completed the Program Since it Began Eight Years Ago.

  • The Polk County Community Betterment Grant will Fund One DMACC College Credit for each Student Who Completes the Program.

The Summer Youth Experience Program (SYEP) at the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families has received a $10,000 Polk County Betterment Grant. SYEP provides work readiness training and employment opportunities to low-income and at-risk youth, ages 14-21 from the Urban Core of Des Moines. This grant will support provision of one DMACC college credit for each participant in SYEP.

The Center’s SYEP began in 2013. This ten-week program provides a paid, work-based opportunity for the 14-to-21-year-olds that encompasses a work-readiness curriculum, career pathway exploration, mentoring and onsite work experiences with partner employers.

“This program, which has served more than 400 youth since it began, focuses on providing middle and high school aged youth with life skills, job training, financial education and summer employment experiences while helping them become better prepared for post-secondary education and teaching them more about high-demand industries and occupations,” Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families Director Dr. Ahmed Agyeman said. “This program clearly helps low-income and at-risk youth receive additional educational and social supports leading to their upward mobility in the labor market.”

Dr. Agyeman said this Polk County Community Betterment Grant will provide the funding so that each student who successfully completes the entire ten-week program receives one DMACC college credit.

“This credit not only validates the time spent in the program, but for the majority of participants, is the only college credit that will have earned during high school,” Dr. Agyeman said.

A total of 68 students are taking the program this summer.

The Center is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, United Way of Central Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

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