Employers have again signed onto a program that helps local teens gain work experience. Now representatives of the county office of education and the Del Norte Workforce Center say they need the applicants.

Now in its third year, the E3 Youth Program — Experience Education Employment — will be able to connect 33 students with job opportunities in the public and private sector, said Workforce Center Manager Christy Hernandez.

Sophomores, juniors, seniors and recent high school graduates, ages 16-18, will be able to earn up to 10 elective credits as well as a paycheck for $960 for four weeks of work or $1,440 for six weeks of work, according to Hernandez.

Employers donate the cost of the wage to the program, enabling them to use it as a tax write-off, said Sunset High School principal Tony Fabricius. Meanwhile, Hernandez and the Workforce Center acts as the hiring agent, managing payroll, workman’s compensation and other duties that would otherwise fall to the employer, he said.

E3 offers a work-based education to teens who might otherwise not know what it takes to get that first job, Fabricius said. It also connects them with employment opportunities within the fishing, logging and ranching industries as well as local governing agencies like the city, county and the school district, he said.

“These are opportunities that a lot of our kids aren’t aware of,” he said. “Not only are they not aware of it, they have no idea how to get that — that person that lives down the street that has this job, works for the prison or works for the county, they drive this nice car, they have this nice house, they are able to take time off, they have medical... How do I get that? I don’t know that world.”

Employers partnering with the E3 program this year include Crescent City, which has positions available for eight students, according to Hernandez. There are work opportunities through the program at the Del Norte Superior Courthouse, in the information-technology department with Del Norte Unified School District and the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. In the private sector, Three-Star Logging Company and the Requa Inn are two businesses that are taking part in the E3 program.

Though they’re trying to get as many teens interested in the E3 program as possible, signing up won’t guarantee employment for the student, according to Fabricius. It will guarantee them a spot in the program’s Work Readiness Bootcamp Week, enabling them to earn a certificate for work readiness, a $100 gift card stipend and the 10 school credits even if they’re not placed, he said.

At the end of the bootcamp, students will take part in speed interviews with employers, Fabricius said.

“They’re choosing,” Fabricius said. “And not all of our kids get chosen. We tell them that in our sales pitch to all the English classes at Del Norte High.”

Hernandez said though the program tries to have enough placements for its students, it’s not always able to.

“Just like real life,” she said. “You’re going to interview and you might not get the job, but we try to do our best to get as many opportunities for them.”

If a student doesn’t get a job through the E3 program, Hernandez said she and Fabricius will refer them to other employment programs for teens such as the Youth Training Academy or any opportunities the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation or Yurok Tribe may offer.

The program takes place between June 24 and Aug. 1. For teens, applications are available at the counseling offices at Del Norte and Sunset high schools, at Castle Rock Charter School, Community School, or at the Del Norte Workforce Center, 875 5th Street in Crescent City. Applications are also available by clicking on Youth Services at dnwfc.org.

Applications are due May 17. For more information, call Fabricius at (707) 464-0380 or Hernandez at (707) 464-8347.

For employers who want to take part in the program, either through offering a placement or a tour, call Roberto Herrera at (707) 464-8347 extension 253 or email rherrera@ncen.org . The E3 Youth Program is also on Facebook.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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