At William C Smith, we have a passion for building quality communities. Whether we are developing the newest apartment building, managing our current portfolio, or supporting the local communities through outreach, we are constantly striving to make the District of Columbia a better place to live.
Our Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the ways in which we are able to promote education and workplace development for the adolescents in our communities. SYEP is a six-week long paid program for young people ages 14-17 who live in WC Smith-managed properties. The program is in its 26th year and over 1,000 adolescents have been able to participate.
To get a glimpse inside of what the Summer Youth Employment Program experience is like, I spoke with Tashayla Pollard, the Community Manager at Huntington Village Apartments. Tashayla was a SYEP participant for four years, beginning in 2003, and has worked for WC Smith in various positions ever since.
Participants of SYEP work 20 hours per week and work where they are needed. They typically assist our on-site leasing and maintenance teams, learning the ins and outs of what it takes to maintain our properties. From paperwork and phone calls to painting and yard work, SYEP interns get a taste of everything:
“I worked in several offices; THEARC and several management offices. Most of my work included filing and special projects inside and outside of the office. I learned how to navigate the property’s software and how to interact with the residents.”
Growth & Development
Beyond gaining workplace experience, SYEP interns also benefit from weekly clinics. Workshop Wednesdays are hosted weekly over the course of the program. College visits, money management, health and fitness, and job interviewing skills are just a few of the topics covered in these workshops. The interns truly value this time:
“My most enjoyable moments with the SYEP program were visiting the college campuses and learning about the different career opportunities with the company.”
Through SYEP, the adolescents of our communities are able to learn the importance of responsibility, hard work, and social networking. For some, it opens up doors to a career with WC Smith:
“My experience with SYEP afforded me an opportunity to gain real-life work skills. I was able to fill in where I was needed. My supervisors saw the ambition I had and offered me the opportunity to have a career with the company.”
Internships leading to careers is not the only sign of SYEP’s success. It is common for interns to participate for all four years that they are eligible, and for younger siblings to follow their lead:
“My sister is currently a sophomore at Temple University and she has participated in the program for four years. She gained valuable work experience. She also enjoyed the networking and skills derived from working in multiple offices.”
Seeing the impact that SYEP has on our interns year after year is what motivates us to continue this program. We are excited to see what the 26th year of SYEP will bring!
We are now accepting applications for the 2018 program.
Applicants must live at a WC Smith community. The program will run June 25th through August 3rd. Applications are due no later than Monday, April 16th at 5:00 pm and can be completed on our website.