Summer Jobs And More (JAM) Program

Erie County government’s Summer Jobs and More program (Summer JAM), a collaborative effort of Erie County, the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and the Erie Community Foundation, is open to Erie County residents aged 16 to 21 who meet the program’s household income guidelines.

Entering its eighth year, the program provides opportunities for employers to offer positions to youth across Erie County.

GECAC offers recruitment and informational sessions for employers and participants through virtual meetings, outreach at local schools and community centers, social media blasts, and outdoor pop-up events.

Youth are matched with employers based on the employer specifications, geographic proximity and availability of reliable transportation for youth. Then GEGAC provides orientation and training sessions. Because of the pandemic, GECAC has implemented an appropriate strategy, and the Erie County Department of Health has provided a COVID-19 safety training.

Evaluation Report

Photos and Success Stories

Riziki Kashindi at USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants)
Riziki Kashindi at USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants)
Isabella Lee - Whole Foods Co-Op
Isabella Lee – Whole Foods Co-Op

Within three weeks, Isabella “Bella” Lee, a first-year Summer JAM participant in 2020, said the worksite had “become her happy place, and that work is something she looks forward to each day.” Bella had several duties at the Co-Op, including stocking shelves, “fronting” (making the store front look clean and presentable), sanitizing the store, and helping with curbside pickup and shopping. When asked if there were any aspects of the job she didn’t prefer or necessarily enjoy, she said that there were none! She enjoyed all of her duties. She loved her placement at Whole Foods. Bella hopes to take advantage of future employment opportunities at the Co-Op following her completion in the Summer JAM Program.Bella was featured in a news story about Summer JAM at the start of the program.

Kayla Whaley- KC’s Ice Cream
Kayla Whaley- KC’s Ice Cream
Kayla Whaley, a four-time Summer JAM champion, worked at KC’s Ice Cream. After two weeks, she said, “ I love working at KC’s Ice Cream. It’s become such a happy place for me.” Kayla primarily worked in the kitchen and attended to scooping the ice cream, preparing the hot food, and making sure the kitchen is stocked and ready to go. Kayla originally joined the program very hesitant because she had just recovered gallbladder surgery and was nervous about what worksite she might be placed. However, the wonderful manager at KC’s Ice Cream was happy to take her on and comply with her medical restrictions. Kayla loved her experience through Summer JAM so much she accepted a full-time job at KC’s Ice Cream when the program was over.
Mashael Khuda Karam – PRI Communities
Mashael Khuda Karam – PRI Communities

Mashael Khuda Karam is a newly graduated high school student with some serious ambition and big goals! 2020 was Mashael’s second summer in the JAM Program, where she worked at PRI Communities as an Administrative Support Clerk. In this position Mashael assisted PRI administrative managers in their daily operations. Mashael said, “I really like this job, because I am able to demonstrate my organizational skills and my attention to detail while working. It’s a new experience that I am learning from every day!”Mashael now attends Gannon University as a Radiologic Science major! She worked with her Summer JAM peer counselor on resume and cover letter materials so she could apply for part-time positions on campus while she continues her studies.

Jack Johnson – Erie County Redevelopment Authority
Jack Johnson – Erie County Redevelopment Authority
Jack Johnson was a respectful first-year Summer JAM participant in 2020. Jack worked for the Erie County Redevelopment Authority primarily in landscaping. This was Jack’s first work experience and he said he loved being outside working in landscape. However, halfway through the program, Jack’s supervisor reached out to Jack’s peer counselor expressing that he was struggling with his position. The peer counselor then spoke with both Jack and his supervisor and discovered that Jack was feeling very overwhelmed with the tasks he was given. It was decided that Jack would be given one specific landscaping task to work on each day. Jack was able to continue doing what he likes to do, being outside working, and the employer felt confident he wasn’t struggling. Jack’s story is what Summer JAM is all about, finding ways to communicate and work together to combat any issue.