Help wanted: Local youths sought for summer jobs
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:03
Help wanted: Young people eager to work, and employers willing to teach them.
Pay: Up to $10/hour, paid for by the federal government.
Wood County has $300,000 to use for a Summer Youth Employment Program, paid for by the federal program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
The program is designed to help youth get a start in the workforce, at no cost to local employers.
"We are recruiting employers to take on some of our kids for the summer," said Mary DeWitt, director of the JobSolutions program which organizes the youth employment program at Wood County Job and Family Services.
"We can always use more," she said of employers willing to participate.
"We have the funds, so we're going to try to get as many youth employed this summer," DeWitt said. She would like to see at least 75 youth working in the program. "I would consider that a success."
The "stumbling block" to success is finding employers willing to take on the young workers.
"It's finding that match," DeWitt said.
The youth will learn hands-on skills through working as a receptionist, doing landscaping, or helping at a library.
The goal is for them to also learn some good work ethics.
"Hopefully the employers spend some time with them, teaching them soft skills," DeWitt said. Those "soft skills" include teaching the youth to come to work on time and with a positive attitude, and "going that extra mile to prove you're a good employee," she said.
The program runs from May 15 to Aug. 31, and employs youth in part-time or full-time jobs.
"It's based on what the employers' needs are," she said.
The young workers can earn up to $10 an hour, but not more than the employer's regular workforce.
The Summer Youth Employment Program includes local residents between the ages of 14 and 24. To qualify, they must be at 200 percent income of the federal poverty guidelines.
Anyone wondering if they qualify may call the two agencies administering the program: Wood County Educational Service Center, Theresa Davis at (419) 354-9010; or WSOS Community Action Center, Roger Fisher at (419) 334-8911.
Attempts are made to match up the youth with jobs in their areas of the county. "We try to take into consideration where the youth live," DeWitt said.
If the match does not work, the employer is not obligated to keep the youth for the entire summer. DeWitt said case managers go out to the job sites every one or two weeks to make sure the program is functioning well.
"We check up on the kids and the worksite," she said. "We want to make sure the workplace is safe, too."