Lynn summer jobs program deemed a success; 150 teens employed

August 24, 2012
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

One hundred and fifty teens are now out of work, but the city’s summer jobs program was deemed a success during Thursday’s closing breakfast.

“We had about 150 kids employed in private sector jobs and public jobs,” said John Kasian of Community Development Youth Services. “We had over 20 businesses participating in the program, and I thought it went very well.”

Kasian, along with Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Project Manager Mary Jane Smalley, ran the program that placed teens in public jobs via a lottery system and private sector jobs via the interview process. The program is paid for through state and federal funding.

Michelle Kane and Kathy Cormier, who along with Connie Carman own Couture Planet, called it an excellent program.

“Last summer we had two students, this year we had four,” Kane said. “One of our students is going on to Salem State, but we hope she stays and works with us while she’s in school.”

Kane said the students had a unique opportunity to see what goes into a start-up. The two-year-old company, located in the Lydia Pinkham Building on Western Avenue, makes handbags from recycled newspapers.

“It shows them we’re not only owners, but we take out the trash, too,” Kane said.

Amanda Le and Jake Thongsythavong will be freshmen at Salem State University in a few weeks, and both said they learned a lot and enjoyed the program.

“It takes a lot of hard work to run a small company, a lot of commitment and responsibility,” said Thongsythavong. “I don’t think I could do it myself.”

Nicole Ferrari, Gabrielle Stinson and Reggie Douyon each walked away from Eastern Bank with transferable skills and one a possible full-time job.

Douyon, in his sixth year with the program, said he worked in deposit operations largely with abandoned properties but he also learned the bank has a charitable arm.

“I want to get into non-profit and they connected me with a lady who does that,” said the UMass Dartmouth senior.

Douyon’s summer supervisor, Irene Berry, vice-president of Deposit operations, said Douyon had no idea that banks took on charitable ventures until they introduced him to the idea. He left Thursday with two interviews lined up that could lead to employment, she said.

Ferrari and Stinson, who are studying business and medical assistance respectively, said they each learned office skills that will come in handy in their fields.

But Lisa Demeule, assistant vice-president of purchasing and summer jobs coordinator for Eastern Bank, said the program is good for businesses as well as students.

“This is our 15th year sponsoring the program,” she said. “We’ve been very pleased with the quality of work and with the relationships that we build, and that they build with each other.”

Cormier said she and her partners are still working to embed themselves into the community, and participating in the summer jobs program allows them to keep costs down and make a positive social impact.

John Johnstone, facilities manager for Lynn Community Health Center, said it just makes sense for his company to participate.

“We’re a community health center,” he said. “It’s our way to give back to the community.”

Chris Stevens can be reached at



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