Parents, are you searching for a way to get your teenager off the couch this summer?

If his excuse is that businesses aren’t hiring, here’s a tip.

The city’s 2010 Summer Youth Employment Program, run by the Pittsburgh Partnership, aims to hire more than 554 youth for public and private sector jobs and internships between July and August. Applications are due by May 25.

All youth 14 to 17 years of age are eligible to apply for the positions, which according to Youth Programs Supervisor Jim Brenner will be almost evenly split between office internships and field and conservation work.

“That’s a moving target right now,” Brenner said, adding that the Pittsburgh Partnership is still working on lining up private companies and nonprofits to offer these positions.

Eighteen to 21 year olds who wish to apply must demonstrate some form of a barrier to employment such as having a single parent, being deficient in skills or residing in a CDBG eligible neighborhood (the only ineligible Northside areas are Allegheny West, the North Shore and a small upper portion of Observatory Hill).

Last year, the city put 554 youth to work at 129 worksites. According to a press release, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl this year hopes to surpass last year’s number of youth employed by the program.

One of last year’s hires was 18-year-old Garland Walker. Having finished up his freshman year at Temple University in Philadelphia, Walker credits the Youth Summer Employment Program for giving him workplace experience.

“I thought it was beneficial because of the amount of hours I got. It consumed a lot of my time, and I wasn’t just sitting at home doing nothing,” said Walker, who grew up attending Manchester Academic Charter School and the after school programs at the Manchester Youth Development Center.

Last summer Walker worked at West Penn Recreation Center, supervising kids at a summer camp.

“I had to report to a supervisor who had strict rules about how he wanted things done, and I was able to manage myself, which gave me a sense of responsibility,” Walker said.

Each position pays $7.25 an hour and offers up to 30 hours per week. Interested youth need to apply in person to one of two drop off centers — the South Side’s YouthLINK at 2600 East Carson Street (412-390-2441) or YouthLINK/Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center at 5321 Penn Avenue (412-452-1513) in Garfield.

The Northside Leadership Conference, located at 4 Allegheny Center, Suite 601, will not be a drop off site for finished applications, as was the case last year, but they will have paper applications available for pickup.

Youth can state their preference for labor-intensive jobs or office internships on the application, which can be found at http://www.pittsburghpartnership.org.

Youth are selected through a random lottery, but preference is given to youth who live in households eligible for public assistance.

The $1.6 million program is paid for through local, state and federal tax dollars and a grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation.