Summer youth program has positive effect on Selma, but could benefit from expansion

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Each year, Selma city government provides more than 100 jobs to high school students. The number of jobs could fluctuate depending on finances, but the number of applicants always exceed the available positions.

In the past, students have left in tears after not receiving jobs.

Is this really the best way for the city to give jobs to students? Should the city invite hundreds of people to the lottery, just to disappoint most of them?

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The job program is a positive way for students to gain experience, but what about the ones that are left jobless? Certainly not all of the program’s applicants have other jobs lined up.

Perhaps it’s the applicants responsibility to have a second job lined up. Or, the city could alter its process to prevent a long, drawn-out waiting game.

With so many applicants — more than 400 this year — and so few jobs, it’s hardly fair to make students wait through the days leading up to the event and the lottery process.

Instead of a lottery, the city could consider applicants internally and announce results afterward. If city government insists on continuing with a lottery, it should expand the number of available jobs. With a little advance planning, an expansion would be a relatively easy process.

Neither idea would completely eliminate the unnecessary letdown, but could help to prevent the more than 200 students who will be without a city job after the lottery