2024 Youth Employment Program Applications for Both Work Sites and Youth Employees are Now Open

The Youth Employment Program (YEP) offers Highland youth ages 14-18 work experience and educational sessions to help them now and in the years to come with personal and career development. For some, this is their first workforce experience. For those who have experience, it is an opportunity to become more capable and develop leadership abilities. 

I met up with Jen Rattigan, programs manager at The Highland Center to learn more about the organization’s sponsorship of the program:

“It’s a program that The Highland Center has been doing for two decades or more, and it gives the students the opportunity to work in local businesses during the summer and have an income and also get some work preparation experience.”

Participants of YEP learn the importance of: professionalism, getting to work on time, treating others with respect, taking initiative, and other soft skills. This year’s work sites include the Highland Historical Society, Highland Children’s House, Highland Medical Center, Highland Arts Council, The Highlander, The Monterey Inn, The Highland Center/Farmers Market, Allegheny Mountain Radio, Philosopher’s Farm, Dare to Dream, Elegius Mini Equine Sanctuary, Heart and Soul, The Highland County Chamber of Commerce, and more.

The program will run between June 17 and August 26, but applications are open now. There will also be several training opportunities and a job fair to help students prepare.

“May 6 we’re going to have an opportunity at The Highland Center for all teens in Highland to come and participate, you don’t have to be a part of the YEP Program. It will just be helping build a resume so you have something to bring to the job fair on May 17,” said Rattigan.

“This year, we’re going to have an opportunity for all the worksites to gather and showcase what all the work is like, what the organization is about, and what the job opportunity that they’re offering will entail,” added Rattigan. “It will be a way for the students to come and introduce themselves. They can also choose their worksites at the job fair and hand in their resume. It will be one-on-one interaction instead of a presentation by all of them.”

YEP worksite applications are due May 3, so there is still time to sign up to be a work location if you are interested. Youth applications are due on May 10. This will allow for matches to be made in early June so everyone can best prepare for their new positions and hires.

To apply, visit thehighlandcenter.org and click on the Programs tab at the top. From there, select Youth Programs. Both the worksite and youth applications can be filled out digitally this year. If you need a paper application, students are encouraged to visit the Highland High School office. Rattigan can be reached at programs@thehighlandcenter.org for any questions.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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