​Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • What are the eligibility requirements?
    • To participate, students must: currently be in 9-12 grade, have a Champaign Unit 4 Schools address, be part of the Free/Reduced Lunch Program, and not be employed anywhere else.
    • Also, from January 2016-December 2016, they must: have at least 90% attendance rate, at least 2.0 GPA, and have no more than 2 days of in/out of school suspensions.
  • How much will I get paid?
    • Students make minimum wage, which is currently $8.25/hour before taxes. All students will have taxes taken out of each paycheck.
  • How many hours can I work?
    • Currently, students are allowed a maximum of 105 hours for the six weeks of the program. This averages out to about 17.5 hours each week. Students can work more hours in a week, but cannot go over the max of 105 hours for the six weeks.
  • What are the dates of employment?
    • Dates vary, but typically they will cover most of June and July.
  • What kind of work will I be doing?
    • Your position and responsibilities are determined by your placement. We try to have a variety of work experiences available, and strive to match you with work that fits your skills and ideal career plans. Your match depends upon how much time you take with your skills assessment and your attendance at the Career Fair.
  • What if I have another job?
    • Congratulations on finding work! You’ve already accomplished the goal on your own. If you have another job, you are currently ineligible to participate in SYEP since our goal is to help connect students who haven’t already found work on their own.
  • I play sports during the summer. Can I still participate?
    • Absolutely. You just need to have a clear idea of your schedule so you can communicate your availability to both your worksite coordinator and employment supervisor in advance.
  • What if I have a family vacation during the employment period?
    • Lots of students take vacation during the time of the program. Some employers will have the capacity to allow you to make up some of the missed hours, but this is not a guarantee. You will need to provide the dates of your trip as soon as possible so your employer can make arrangements for when you are gone.
  • What if I don’t like my assigned worksite?
    • We do our best to ensure students are matched to locations that fit their skills and interests, but sometimes things don’t work as expected. If you are struggling in your placement, the first step is to meet with your coordinator and supervisor to determine if any changes can be made to improve the situation. If this is not an option, we will do our best to find you another placement, but we cannot guarantee finding another opening after the program has started.
  • Can I continue working after the program ends?
    • If your employer has the capacity to hire you directly, and offers you a position after the six week program, it is up to you to accept or respectfully decline that offer. The program cannot pay students beyond the six weeks allotted.
  • Why do I have to have a Busey savings account?
    • All paychecks are set up with Direct Deposit, which means you don’t have to take a paper check in to a bank to get your money. It goes directly into your account. We encourage the savings accounts as part of your financial literacy training. It’s a key element in learning to manage your money and save whenever possible. Having a Busey account is also a part of our Cash Contest, showing you have taken a proactive approach to your future goals by saving money throughout the program.
  • I’ve participated in the program before. Do I have to go to the training sessions?
    • Definitely! We do our best to make the trainings worth your time and energy. The program is always changing and adding new learning opportunities. Each year we try to include more depth to the topics for those who have participated in the past. Sometimes you may also be surprised to learn something you missed the first time.
  • Can I return to my previous worksite from last summer?
    • We always want to keep successful placements going whenever possible. If your employer is participating again and also expresses an interest in having you return, we will do our best to honor these requests.
  • How do I decide where I want to work?
    • The first step will be to complete your Skills Assessment on Career Cruising with as much accuracy and consideration as possible. We will also have you do a personality assessment, which will help us understand you a little better. Finally, you will attend the Career Fair and meet with potential employers. This is the most critical step. You will have the chance to list your top employers and they will do the same. We will use all of these elements in consideration of your placement.
  • What if I’m a graduating senior? Can I still participate?
    • Of course! Graduating seniors are certainly welcome to participate if they don’t already have another job lined up for the summer.
  • When do I get paid?
    • The pay schedule is determined by our payroll agent. Generally, paychecks are deposited every two weeks. Depending on your start date, your first check may arrive up to three weeks from the first day of work. This schedule will be available to you during orientation so you know what to expect. If you have questions about the pay schedule, you can ask your worksite coordinator or employer at any time.
  • I don’t have a car or access to a car. How do I get to work?
    • We will work with you to ensure you have access to bus routes to and from your worksite if needed. If you need further assistance, you can speak with your coordinator to see what else might be helpful. We will do as much as we can to work with you, but ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure you get to and from work for every shift. If you know transportation may be an issue, make sure to talk to program staff early in the process as they may be able to arrange a worksite more conveniently located to your home.
  • Why can’t I work more hours or more weeks?
    • We only have the capacity to cover payroll for six weeks. If your employer has the ability to hire you directly, you may have a chance to work beyond the scope of the program.  
  • What if I’m sick and have to miss work?
    • If you ever have to miss work, or know you will be late, you must call both your worksite coordinator AND your employer. It is important to let both people know your plans so there is not confusion or concern about your whereabouts.
  • What if I can’t make it to a required event?
    • If you know you can’t make a required event, you should let program staff or your coordinator know ahead of time. When possible, you will be allowed to make up attendance at a similar event. You should always be proactive and do what you can to find out what you missed.