First Posted: 3/10/2009
A new job program for youths, to be offered this summer through federal stimulus funds, will provide 150 positions while injecting more than $100,000 into the community, officials announced Tuesday.
Thats huge for Surry County, Althea Hairston of the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments, told a group of local governmental and educational representatives who assembled at Mount Airy High School Tuesday afternoon to learn about the Summer Youth Program.
Citing heavy job losses in the county in recent years, Hairston said the new effort which the Winston-Salem-based council will oversee in some cases will provide the only income among families with parents out of work. Because of it, they will have at least one member employed, she said.
The program will be offered to all residents of the county who are 16 to 24 years old who qualify economically under federal guidelines, officials said Tuesday.
Theyre going to be lots of kids out there looking for jobs, said Polly Long of the Mount Airy schools eLink Youth Work Program, which will administer the federal stimulus money with the help of other educational systems and agencies.
These jobs are for those most in need, Long stressed.
All the positions will pay $7.25 per hour, with paydays scheduled twice a month. Those who are 16 to 18 years old will work for 20 hours per week for eight weeks, while persons in the 19-to-24 age group will work 20 hours each week for a six-month period.
The work begins on June 15, with jobs available among various small businesses, non-profit agencies and the municipal and county governments.
Long also made reference Tuesday to the psychological boost the program will give to a community that has suffered from employment losses. When first learning of it last week, she said she was encouraged that positive headlines concerning jobs would result, rather than negative ones that have appeared all too frequently.
I just felt like that was such hope to put back into the community, Long added.
Along with local students, the jobs program could prove beneficial to veterans as well, especially those who might be transitioning from service to the private sector or who need a summer job in between college semesters.
This is the chance for them to get a little bit of money, and go back to school in the fall, said Larry Calloway, veterans employment consultant with the N.C. Employment Security Commission, who was among those at Tuesdays meeting.
In addition to the financial considerations, the Summer Youth Program will allow participants to receive valuable work experience, officials say.
Aid To Employers
The stimulus effort will not just benefit the local youth population, according to Hairston.
There are opportunities that will help businesses as well, she said. The wages will be covered under the stimulus (funds).
Long said this will help companies that might want to add a worker or two, but cant afford the pay.
She explained that staff members involved with the program will supervise the workers, including visiting job sites to make sure they are performing as they should. This is not a baby-sitting service let me make that perfectly clear, Long said.
Participating businesses must agree to the supervision and other guidelines, including providing meaningful work to participants, and not laying off others as a result.
You cannot displace an adult, Long said. We dont want to eliminate any adult jobs because of this.
Another requirement will allow only those who are at least 18 years old to operate machinery.
Any employer interested in working with program participants should go to the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments Web site at www.nwpcog.org, and click on Workforce Development in the second red box. Two smaller red boxes will appear to the side; employers should click on the red box that says Summer Youth Employment Program.
That section will explain the application process for businesses to become work sites under the program.
How To Apply
The applicant deadline for youths is April 17 at 4:15 p.m. Hairston said Tuesday that the positions will be filled after that time, and indicated there is no particular advantage in applying early.
To apply, would-be participants should contact their high school guidance departments or designated officials among other local educational institutions and agencies.
The contact people for individual locations include David Hayes at North Surry High School; Polly Long, Mount Airy High School; Paige Badgett, Surry Central High School; Brent Long, East Surry High School; Celia Hodges, Surry Early College High School; Debbie Benge, Surry Community College; Barbara Long, Elkin High School; Karen McBennett, Employment Security Commission; and Carmen Eldridge of the Workforce Development Center.
Any applicant who is not in school but between the ages of 16 and 24 should go to either the Workforce Development Center and ask for Eldridge or the Employment Security Commission and contact McBennett. They also can deal with Lisa Hartness at the Jones Family Resource Center in Mount Airy or, if attending Surry Community College, Debbie Benge.
Each applicant must bring proper documentation to complete the process, including a birth certificate, signed Social Security card, verification of address (such as a utility bill) and income verification.
Under the Workforce Investment Act eligibility guidelines that the program will be based on, a person from a four-member household, for example, with a six-month income not exceeding $10,759 will qualify. For a six-member household, the figure is $14,849.
Any student who has an IEP or Educational Modification Plan automatically qualifies and will not need income verification, but will be required to provide a copy of their IEP or 504 Plan.
Hairston said that administrators hope to have staff members to run the program in place by April 1 so they can be trained in preparation for it to begin on June 15.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.