Summer youth job program begins

City, county offer more than 1,000

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Allegheny County expects to hire as many as 600 young people this summer in a jobs program funded by a $1.87 million grant through the federal Workforce Investment Act, officials said yesterday.

The job program, which is designed to provide a workforce for the county's ongoing "green initiatives," is open to people between 14 and 24 years of age. It is intended for disadvantaged youths who live in Allegheny County, but outside the city of Pittsburgh's limits, said county spokesman Kevin Evanto.

The city also announced its own summer jobs program for youths in low-income families this week. City officials overseeing the jobs program through the Pittsburgh Partnership started accepting applications for 554 summer jobs early this week.

County officials said the job program will mostly focus on employing youths who are trying to better themselves, such as high school dropouts and juvenile offenders, or those from low-income communities. Young adults who grew up in the foster care system will also be given special consideration.

The programs will range from four to 10 weeks, and the specific age of eligibility varies with each program. For the most part, the jobs will involve landscaping, gardening, conservation and similar projects.

Other aspects of the employment program are geared toward providing training and work experience in child care, health education, first aid and money management. However, county officials said all of the programs will serve to build good work habits, as well as problem-solving and social skills for future employment.

"The additional funds received through WIA will not only allow us to provide new opportunities for our youth, but will also enhance what we already have in place through the Department of Human Services," said Marc Cherna, director of the department, which will coordinate the program.

Pre-applications are available at CareerLink offices and Summer Youth Program sites. The CareerLink office in Forest Hills will serve as the hub for information, referral and processing of the applications. Enrollment is limited to 600 youths.

For more information and specific eligibility requirements about the program, contact The Forest Hills Career Link Youth Hotline at 412-436-2321 or visit the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Web site at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/wiayouth.aspx.



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