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SYEP participant writes of his experience

PJ Isaako

Pago Pago, AMERICA SAMOA — PJ Isaako was one of the participants of this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Writing a brief summary of his experience that he shared with Samoa News, he wrote that for the 8-week program he worked at the American Samoa Government Department of Human Resources.

“My friends told me about the summer youth employment program in 2021, and I was eager to apply since I've always been curious about what it's like to work and whether it's enjoyable as everyone says,” PJ said, adding that he “learned how to take calls, serve clients, file applications, and type letters;” and “despite how difficult it was, I found everything enjoyable.”

And it was the people that made it a successful experience. He said he received training from various personnel managers, including the head of the department, Director Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo.

The SYEP participant wrote that DHR employees during this eight-week program have all been kind to him and the other participants. “Thank you so much to everyone in my personnel divisions— Classification, Data, Recruitment, Contract, Retention, and Records — for sharing your expertise. You all have my sincere gratitude.”

What did he find the most challenging of his work at the DHR?

PJ said, “The occasional requirement to provide customer service is what” he found “to be the most difficult aspect of working in the DHR.

“I assumed that people would hardly come, therefore I had no idea that I would be serving people occasionally every day.

“It was not easy for me as a 16-year-old, from not hearing what the people on the phone are trying to say, to serving clients with attitude.

“Making errors and growing from them is acceptable … and don't forget to grin,” he said.

“Last but not least,” he concluded, “my friends” who were also summer youth participants, “I appreciate all the memories, laughs, and happy tears they have given me.”

PJ said he wants to complete his education including earning a master’s degree, “and then return to American Samoa to assist the local population.”