Grant to connect youth, jobs

Christy Howell-Hoots - [email protected]

AUGUSTA — A TENCO Workforce Development grant will provide summer work opportunities for youth in Bracken County.

Augusta Independent School Superintendent Lisa McCane said the $88,683 grant will allow for Bracken County youth between the ages of 17-24 to be given paid work assignments that will last for eight weeks during the summer.

“The program will provide employment preparation, work experience, career exploration, post-secondary guidance and follow-up services,” McCane said.

Though the grant is open to those in the age range, both in school and out, there are requirement that must be met in order to be eligible for the program.

According to McCane, there are 30 spots in the program, but only six youth currently enrolled in school will be accepted.

“We want to target kids who face barriers,” she said, “youth who aren’t getting work training or post-secondary training.”

The program will provide 32 hours of work per week at $8 an hour. During that time, participants will also be expected to attend a class one hour each week.

“The class will cover topics such as financial literacy, labor market and other topics. We can’t pay the students for their time in the class, but we can provide an incentive, such as a $25 gas card,” McCane said. “They can only work up to 32 hours a week and they will be paid at $8 an hour.”

Some of the job opportunities could include the City of Augusta, AIS, library work, nursing home or other jobs.

“Any employer who is interested in participating can do so,” McCane said. “The grant will pay the youth, not the employer. We would like to have youth placed in a field they are interested in, so if someone is interested in nursing, we would place them in the nursing home. That may not always be possible, though.”

According to McCane, during the summer, there will be on-site visits and evaluations to make sure the youth are completing their work requirements.

“If someone isn’t working out, we can replace them with someone else who would want to work,” she said.

McCane said the program will begin around the first week of June and applications are currently being accepted.

In order to qualify for the program, youth must meet the following requirements. If they are not enrolled in school, they must meet one of these requirements: low-income, eligible for public assistance, homeless, have a disability, be a runaway or in the foster care system, pregnant or parenting, out of school for at least one calendar year or a high school dropout.

If the youth is currently enrolled in school, they must be low-income and meet one of these requirements: basic skills deficiency, English language barrier, offender, homeless, runaway or in foster care, eligible for public assistance, pregnant or parenting or have a disability.

Any youth interested in applying to the program can contact Robin Kelsch or Chad Bryant at AIS by calling 606-756-2105. They must complete an application.

“Our goal is to fill all 30 spots,” McCane said. “However, if we find there is a need greater than the 30 youth, we could amend our grant and possibly receive a higher grant to open up space for those youth.”

Christy Howell-Hoots

[email protected]