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West Side Y offers paid internships for high school students

A group shot of last year's participants in the West Side YMCA's Teen Career Connection program.
A group shot of last year's participants in the West Side YMCA's Teen Career Connection program. West Side YMCA

For high school students looking to get some work experience this summer, the Westside YMCA is accepting applications for its Teen Career Connection program.

The West Side Y's Teen Career Connection program, now entering its 11th year, offers an eight-week internship for current sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school from any of the five boroughs. There are 50 spots available. Training starts on June 30, and the internship runs from July 14 to Aug. 22. Students receive a $1,250 stipend, a $300 clothing stipend and a Metrocard for the duration of the internship.

The application deadline is March 22. The Department of Youth and Community Development also announced the program on its Twitter page on March 14.

The program seeks to provide teenagers in low-income communities who are performing well in school but do not have access to career advancement opportunities a full-time job experience, said Wyndy Sloan, the West Side Y's senior director of fund development, membership and communications.

"This was really to break that cycle and say that there are other options out there for you," Sloan said.

This year's sponsors and hosts include the United Nations Federal Credit Union, the Dana Foundation and 100 Black Men. Last year's participants were placed in companies and nonprofits such as Deloitte, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, The Clinton Foundation, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Students go through training at the Westside Y. Seminar-style sessions teach students how to interact with their boss and coworkers, how to dress professionally and how to use social media in the workplace.

Each teenager is paired with an adult mentor who checks in with the student throughout the training and placement. Mentor and mentee team-building outings include activities such as a Mets game, karaoke night and bowling.

Students are required to work for at least 35 hours per week. They have to report back to the West Side Y with reflection assignments every week and staff members visit throughout the internship period to get feedback from their supervisors.

The summer concludes with Portfolio Night, where each teen gives a two- to three-minute overview of their internship experience.

Last year, the organization received over 3,400 applications. So far, they have received well over 1,000 applications.

The program will be held from June 30 to Aug. 2. Training will be held at the West Side YMCA on 5 W. 63rd St. The internship runs from July 14 to Aug. 22. Hours and locations vary.

Those who are interested in participating in the program can sign up online here.