Teenagers are already counting down the school year's end, and for some that means the start of a struggle to find a summer job.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act just upped the opportunities for students and employers.
Jordan Combs knows the trials of summer job hunting. The 17-year-old high school senior says, "It's hard to find a job around here, plus I'm young, I'm not 18."
Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program figures show when the overall local unemployment rate is as low as 6 percent, the rate for 16 to 24-year-olds is a staggering 40 percent!
EKCEP Executive Director Jeff Whitehead says, "We know that kids at that age range are having a terrible time finding work."
EKCEP put 450 youngsters to work last summer in 23 counties. But with the federal stimulus pumping $6 million into the "Let's Go 2 Work" program, this year's number of jobs will climb to 3,000.
Brandon Fleming, who recruits workers and places them in different jobs as Youth Service Director for LKLP, says, "It actually gives them a real life, what work experience is all about, you know, and they get to go in and they realize what it's like to work a 40 hour week."
The program will pay workers at least $7.25 an hour for six weeks. The Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center is one of hundreds of local employers planning to take advantage of the extra help.
Neil Napier, Recreation Director at the Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center, says, "Not having this additional help, unfortunately some of our residents may not get outside because our volunteer base is low currently, and so it's a huge help."
Plus, it puts money in the hands of young workers likely to spend it at local businesses.
The program starts May 1st.
Workers must be 16 to 24 years old and meet some financial criteria in order to qualify for job placement.
For more information visit letsgo2work.org or call 1-877-512-WORK (9675).
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