ROCKFORD The Rockford Park District was one of three organizations in the State of Illinois selected to pilot a new employment program. The COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program (C-SYEP) was developed due to the impact COVID-19 has had on Illinois’s economy and the challenges that young people, particularly at-risk youth between the ages of 16 to 24, will face in order to gain employment over the next few months due to virus-related layoffs.

Recently the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), who will facilitate C-SYEP, reached out to the Rockford Park District thanks to a connection made by 67th District State Representative Maurice West. The Rockford Park District will receive $500,000 to employ 100 area youth over the next three months. The primary objective for youth served in the C-SYEP program is to develop essential employability skills and to earn a minimum of 180 hours of entry-level work experience.

"An opportunity like this can change someone’s life and hopefully lead to a career in the Rockford Park District. We are excited to be one of three agencies to be chosen to take part in this pilot program and can’t thank Representative West enough for advocating for us and valuing the importance of parks and recreation,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.