Supporting summer youth employment at Harvard

2 min read

Even though warm weather feels far off, it’s not too early to begin thinking about planning for the summer here on campus. For more than two decades Harvard’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has offered students in Boston and Cambridge the chance to work in various departments across the University.

SYEP helps local teenagers develop strong work habits, establish networks, and acquire real-world work experience. Oftentimes the job serves as a teens first professional work experience. They learn how to meet deadlines, stand accountable, and the importance of teamwork.

Additionally, holding down a job as a teenager has been found to translate into better jobs skills as an adult, and ultimately higher lifetime earnings.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program is really a win-win for all involved. It’s a fantastic way to give local students the opportunity to develop valuable skills, gain experience in the workforce, and of course obtain a well-earned paycheck,” said Meredith Weenick, Harvard’s Vice President for Campus Services. “It’s also an easy, cost-effective way for departments all across the University to fill temporary staffing needs, as well as to mentor a new generation of workers.”

Teenagers who participate in the program can take on a variety of assignments, including office support, library help, writing, scheduling, athletic support, or maintenance help. The students work from July 9 to Aug. 17, and participating departments pay less than $2,500. The hours and dates may be adjusted to fit the individual needs of departments.

The program can assist hiring managers create and submit job postings, review resumes, interview potential candidates, and give ongoing support for managing high school students. Additionally, for some developing managers, overseeing these students can be a rewarding, first foray into a supervisory role.

Employing teens from Boston and Cambridge helps strengthen Harvard’s reputation as both an “employer of choice” and a good neighbor.

“Harvard is committed to ensuring that the Summer Youth Employment Program remains as successful as it has been in years past,” continued Weenick. “It’s an incredibly valuable program, and we look forward to working with, and getting to know, so many of these young people.”

It’s not too late to request a student employee. If your department is interested in participating, please contact Michelle Gordon-Seemore at or at 617-495-3303.

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