Summer youth employment to target those without diploma

Published 1:06 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Out-of-school youth who do not have a high school diploma or GED can gain valuable work experience through a summer employment program.

Selma Career Center is targeting youth ages 16-to-24 for a six-week program that will pay $7.25 per hour for 35 hours per week. There are 63 slots available for the program, which begins June 2 and ends July 31. Dr. Margaret Hardy, manager of the career center’s employment office, said the program could not have come at a better time. She said the program teaches youth responsibility and the value of a dollar, too.

“This will provide some much needed income to some youth,” Hardy said. “In terms of the experience it provides, I just think that it’s unmatched.”

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Along with gaining work experience, participants will be required to enroll in adult education and GED programs for a minimum of 10 hours per week. Interim coordinator Clifford O. Hunter said he expects the program to quickly fill up. The program is just too great of an opportunity, he said.

“This is going to be an avenue to give the youth something to do this summer,” Hunter said. “With the economy the way it is, I just think it’s an added benefit to our youth in this area.”

Eligible work sites for the program must be public or private not for profit entities. Youth will not be allowed to work at casinos, zoos, golf courses, aquariums, swimming pools, cutting grass or operating heavy equipment. Hunter said there are multiple agencies throughout Dallas County that would love to work with area youth.

“It’s important because this is just needed,” he said.

Probate Judge Kim Ballard said young people have worked for the county in the past. However, due to lack of funding, the county has not been able to hire any youth the last couple of years. Ballard said he would love to see them participate again soon.