Stimulus money boosts job program

Susan Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, announced on Sunday, April 26, that Schenectady County has been awarded $392,457 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for workforce development.

The majority of the funds will be used by the Schenectady County Job Training Agency to increase participation in the 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program. Schenectady County will enroll an additional 230 at-risk youths in a six-week work experience during the summer months. Additionally, three employment and training assistants and one employment and training coordinator will be hired for either eight or 19 week periods.

This funding through President Obama's stimulus plan is so important during these difficult economic times, said Savage, D-Niskayuna. "We will provide many more young people in Schenectady County with important job training and the skills necessary to find good paying jobs and become productive members of our community."

The program, which runs from July 6 through Aug. 14, provides young people ages 14-24 from throughout the county an opportunity to gain on-the-job training at a variety of local business and government agencies.

"This has been a very successful program and a great opportunity for local youth," said Schenectady County Legislator Philip Fields, D-Schenectady, and a sponsor of the resolution accepting the stimulus funds. "Our kids will not only have the opportunity to earn a few dollars this summer, but will be given important skills that they will need to be successful in the future."

The program is open to all Schenectady County youth, ages 14-24, on a first come, first serve basis. Several funding streams require youth to meet specific eligibility criteria, including coming from a disadvantaged background, being classified by the Committee of Special Education or other barriers.

The county will partner with over 100 local businesses and nonprofit agencies to place youth in employment opportunities ranging from camp counselors, clerical support, landscaping, and others.

Fourteen- and 15-year-olds work 20 hours a week and those 16 and older work 30 hours per week for $7.25 an hour.

All youth who participate in the program will visit Schenectady County Community College at least once during the summer. They will attend workshops to improve their skills in resume writing, banking and budgeting, financing, college exploration and receive other basic academic enrichment to prepare them for the workforce.

For information go to www.schenectadycounty.com.""

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