Program readies kids to enter work force

Abandoned by his father at 17, three years after immigrating to the United States from China, and taken into the county’s foster care program, Ying Lin will be awarded a $500 scholarship by the county’s Jobs for Youth Program on Thursday.

Lin is one of eight students, many of whom grew up in financially disadvantaged families, who will receive a need-based scholarship. The money must be put toward college education costs or vocational training, said Ruby Tomas, county Jobs for Youth Program coordinator.

From résumé writing to searching job post Web sites to mock job interviews, Tomas’ program focuses on training teenagers on what to expect when they head into the work force. The program, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, serves about 1,500 students a year, Tomas said.

More than 330 have found jobs with the program’s help this year alone, Tomas said.

“Many kids don’t have an introduction to the working world and we want to provide that to them,” Tomas said. Jobs for Youth typically serves 100 youth during the month of June, twice the usual monthly rate, Tomas said.

A San Bruno resident currently holding down two jobs waiting tables while carrying a full course load at the College of San Mateo, Lin, 20, credits the Jobs for Youth Program with inspiring him to set lofty goals. The program helped guide him through his first jobs, Lin said.

“They really hooked me with the job at the county and training me for the job I have right now,” Lin said.

He’s studying business and hopes to transfer to UC Davis, said Lin, whose father went into hiding after violating an immigration law. Lin will get his just due at Jobs for Youth fundraiser breakfast May 31.

Jessica Cuadra, 18, also benefited from the program, winning a scholarship last year.

The youngest of four brought up by a single mom, she remembers riding as a child with her siblings in the backseat of her mother’s car while she delivered pizzas as a second job.

From her start as a summer intern working for the county, Cuara has moved on to retail at Fredericks of Hollywood in San Francisco’s Westfield Mall.

Celebrating 25 years

What: Jobs for Youth fundraiser breakfast and scholarship awards event

Where: Foster City Crowne Plaza, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City

When: May 31, 7:30 to 9 a.m.

More information: For more on the breakfast, call (650) 301-8444.

For more on Jobs for Youth, call (650) 301-8492.

ecarpenter@examiner.com


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