He’s the boss

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Ybarra honored by governor for youth jobs program

By Gene Sears

Recreation is hard work. But that’s just one reason why Fort Lupton Parks and Recreation supervisor Cesar Ybarra takes on a few additional hands every summer.

    Ybarra, recognized by Gov. Hickenlooper’s office for his work with the 2012 Governor’s Summer Job Hunt, hires teen help each summer as both a boost to the city, and to the kids he brings into the workforce. Since beginning in 1981, the program has been a boon to teens looking for education and experience at a real job, something Ybarra sees as valuable to the community, and the community’s youth.
    “Basically, it is a program through Weld County, it’s called the Governors Summer Job Hunt, in partnership with the Colorado workforce centers.” Ybarra said. “They work for us, and they help them with through the program, they help them with schooling and whatnot, and they are required to work so many hours with us.”
    It’s a partnership Ybarra has grown accustomed to for most of his five years in the city’s employ.
    “Since I have started with the program I have done this for three years,” Ybarra said. “I get young men and I work them in the field, and young women I work inside.”
    The program provides valuable skills and experience in the workforce, something that can only be learned on the job.
    “It’s like their first job,” Ybarra said. “They have to learn responsibility, do their own time sheet, show up on time, a real first job experience.”
    Weld County Employment Services matches up local candidates with prospective employers, working to keep teens in their own communities. The resultant match is as effective as the attitude the worker brings to the job, similar to any employee. Ybarra gets some great matches, and some that might not stay as long. Two of the young women hired this year are still on staff and doing well, Brianna Vigil and Alexis Rios.
    “They have been working out really well,” Ybarra said. “They do custodial work, they help out with setups, they also do washing aprons and ironing them for big events. They are doing great.”
     “This year, Workforce Centers across Colorado provided almost 40,000 young people with assistance in résumé writing, interviewing skills, and job-search strategies,” said Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek in a release honoring the program and Ybarra.
    “They connected thousands with summer jobs thanks to community-minded businesses.  Every employer who hired a young person this summer was working in collaboration with our schools to build and strengthen our future workforce.”

Contact Staff Writer Gene Sears at gsears@metrowestnewspapers.com.