Las Vegas Sun

January 16, 2018

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Teens, Boulder City reap benefits of federal stimulus funds


Justin M. Bowen

Mason Groves, foreground, trims the grass at the Boulder City Library amphitheater as one of the several teens working on city landscaping crews this summer through Workforce Investment Boards teen summer job program.

Teen jobs

Shane Zellow, left, and Branden DeLangis, right, film Francyl Gawryn for a BCTV program promoting music classes through the Boulder City Parks and Recreation Program. Zellow and DeLangis are part of the Workforce Investment Board's summer youth jobs program. Launch slideshow »

Boulder City

The fresh, new faces around City Hall, on landscaping and public works crews and at recreation centers, are more than just some summer help Boulder City didn't have in its budget.

They are work-training-in-progress.

They are extra hands to tackle long-neglected projects.

They are federal stimulus money that came home to roost in Boulder City.

Boulder City won a federal grant of $148,000 through the Workforce Investment Board to hire up to 50 high school students for the summer. In addition to $8 or $8.50 an hour, depending on the job, the students received one day a week of training on job skills, CPR and goal-setting.

The seven-week program has had the Boulder City High School students working in various city departments four days a week, then spending a day in the City Council chambers in class.

“The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Acting City Clerk Lorene Krumm, who coordinated the program. “They have been a big help, eager to learn. They’re great kids.”

The students, many who were working their first summer job, said they have enjoyed heading to work every morning more than they expected, and not just because of the money.

“I thought I would be bored and not enjoy myself,” said Evynn McFalls, a June graduate who plans to study journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, in the fall. He has been working for Krumm in the City Clerk’s office.

“I’ve learned a lot about how the city is run. I never leave here and say, ‘That was a day wasted.’”

Krumm has him tackling a backlog of old documents that need to be scanned and archived so they are available on the city’s Web site.

Especially given the city’s recent budget cuts, the students have been a big help, Krumm said.

“These kids have been able to help bridge that gap,” she said. “We’ve received the benefit.”

Public Information Officer Rose Ann Rabiola Miele has had Branden DeLangis, a June graduate, and Shane Zellow, a senior, putting together short video pieces to show on BCTV. Their first week on the job, she gave them raw footage of the May Parks and Recreation Tiny Tots graduation, which they edited into a short feature on the event.

They also have been shooting footage that will go into future BCTV productions and are helping Miele clean 20 years of clutter out of the BCTV studio.

It was the third choice of job for both of them, but they both said they were glad it’s where they ended up.

“We’ve learned about workplace relationships, how to get along in a job,” DeLangis said.

And, Zellow added, how to manage their time better.

Mason Groves, a senior, has been learning how to get up before dawn in his position on a landscaping crew. He rises at 4 a.m. to be at work by 5:30, he said.

“Getting up early in the morning is a good skill,” he said.

He talks proudly about the trees he’s trimmed and grass he’s mowed. “Last week, the wind took down some branches. We got right on the job, cut them up and cleaned it up,” he said. “It’s looking nice again.”

Boulder City High counselor Rebecca Balistere, who has been teaching most of the Friday job skill classes, said that is what builds self-esteem. She has been building on that with instruction on goal-setting and by serving as a place where the students can ask questions about office politics or work etiquette.

“There’s a difference between goals and dreams,” she said. She has taught the students how to set attainable goals that prove to themselves that they are capable.

She also goes over the basics of work etiquette, but Balistere said Boulder City teens don’t need much instruction.

“Boulder City kids are just good kids,” she said. “They come with skills not all kids have -- respect, the ability to listen. They are an unusual group of kids.”

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