Effective immediately, the William Floyd School District has suspended its participation in the Suffolk County Department of Labor Youth Employment Program. While this program has provided benefits to those with special needs to help them gain the skills necessary to enter the workforce, the William Floyd Board of Education and district administration does not feel comfortable continuing its participation at this time after the actions of the custodian stationed at John S. Hobart Elementary School. Below is additional information that we hope will help to answer questions from the community.
What is the purpose of the Department of Labor Youth Employment Program?
The purpose of this program is to provide recent high school graduates who are economically disadvantaged and classified as having a disability, the opportunity to gain work real-life work experience while being paid by the Department of Labor, so that they may gain the skills necessary to become fully employed. This program is part of the Workforce Investment Act, which is a federal program designed to prepare workers — particularly individuals with barriers to employment such as disabilities — for good jobs by providing job search assistance and training.
How are people chosen for this program?
The people chosen for this program are recent high school graduates of their home school, in this case, William Floyd, who have been identified as having special needs. To be selected for this program, they must meet the criteria of being a student with special needs and being economically disadvantaged. Each of these people started with an eight-week summer program and those who are successful during that time span are given the opportunity to return or continue in employment through the Department of Labor. The William Floyd Special Education Department works tirelessly to help its students gain the skills necessary to become independent and positive contributors to society.
Before this program was suspended, how many Department of Labor employees participated in this program at William Floyd? Where were they performing their custodial duties and when?
There were six people employed through this program in the district. Three at John S. Hobart Elementary School, one at Tangier Smith Elementary School, one at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School and one at William Floyd Middle School. There were four males and two females in the program.
The three people at John S. Hobart Elementary School included the individual arrested, one female and another male who works the night shift; one female at Tangier Smith Elementary School and one male each at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School and William Floyd Middle School.
What is the criteria for people to be eligible for this program?
To work in the Suffolk County Department of Labor Youth Employment Program, people must be recent high school graduates, classified with special needs and be economically disadvantaged. Approved candidates are subject to a rigorous review by the Special Education Department and the Suffolk County Department of Labor, which includes a thorough examination of school behavior records and transcripts. None of the six program participants performing custodial duties at William Floyd had* a criminal record. (*Now excluding the individual arrested at Hobart.)
Have any of these Department of Labor employees been convicted of a crime whether it be theft, sexual in nature, substance abuse, etc.?
No, they have not. The William Floyd School District has all student behavior records including law enforcement records and none previously had a criminal record. Students enrolled in the Department of Labor program begin their participation in high school. Students with special needs who are candidates for the jobs program are connected with the Department of Labor early in order to give them opportunities to gain the skills to be employable and successful in their futures.
Does the district receive tax benefits or other monetary incentive for participation?
No. The district does not receive any tax incentive or monetary benefit for participation.
10/4/19 – William Floyd School District update regarding Suffolk County Department of Labor employee arrest: We are beyond furious that an 18-year old adult male custodian employed at our school through the Department of Labor Youth Employment Program left inappropriate handwritten notes for a student. When we learned that this occurred, we immediately removed him from his post and worked collaboratively with the police department to ensure they had all of the information they needed to make an arrest. We are thankful for the efforts of the police department and will continue to work closely with them to ensure this individual is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Suffolk County Police Department press release (linked here).