Ryan Doyeto is a physical therapist at W.W. Hastings Hospital and participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program in 2006.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation is now accepting applications for the Summer Youth Employment Program. The program connects Native teens with summer jobs to earn money and gain work experience.
Applications are due April 17 and are available at any of the tribe’s 11 Career Services offices. To qualify, Native youth must be between the ages of 16-21, live within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and work 40 hours per week for a six-week period. Participants can potentially earn a total of $1,740 this summer.
“This program has been a springboard for students deciding what type of career they would like to pursue,” said Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley. “It allows them to get the necessary tools for the type of training they need should they choose a career that requires educational attainment or a certification.”
Participants work in various Cherokee Nation departments, or the tribe helps them find summer jobs in public schools, libraries or private businesses.
Ryan Doyeto, a Sequoyah High School graduate from Tahlequah, participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program in 2006. Doyeto worked a summer job in Cherokee Nation’s Healthy Nation program, which gave him career experience helpful for his current job as a physical therapist at W.W. Hastings Hospital. Healthy Nation is a public health program that promotes a healthier being through eating well, activity and lifestyle choices.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program introduced me to what an actual work environment would be like,” Doyeto said. “After looking at several departments within Cherokee Nation, I chose to work with kids promoting awareness of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. That was my first job, 40 hours a week. It was good because it was my introduction into the health field.”
The program, which is funded by the Cherokee Nation, also helps local businesses. Participants are allowed to work outside of the Cherokee Nation under certain guidelines. Robin Gordon owns Robin’s Nest Flowers and Gifts in Pryor and has utilized the program the past two years for extra staffing.
“Employees like to take their vacation during the summer months, so having an extra hand is beneficial for scheduling and payroll purposes,” Gordon said. “The student I had last summer stepped in and learned quickly. She helped customers, made deliveries and learned how to make some of the smaller floral arrangements. I think the program gives young people an opportunity to see what is out there and gives them real-life experience that helps them figure out what they want to do.”
The program requires applicants under the age of 18 to have a parent or legal guardian present when turning in an application at the tribe. For a list of Career Service office locations, visithttp://www.cherokee.org/Services/Career/OfficeLocations.aspx.
For more information on the Summer Youth Employment Program, call 918-453-5555.