City of Wichita gets federal grants to expand youth employment program

12/13/2012 2:14 PM

12/13/2012 2:15 PM

The city of Wichita has received two federal grants totaling $76,000 that will allow it to expand a youth employment and training program to include 16- to 21-year-olds.

The Career Development Office has begun taking referrals from agencies and applications from youths within the age range, career development manager Michelle Rucker said Thursday. Applicants will need to meet federal income guidelines to be accepted into the program, she added.

The office used a $30,000 federal grant to conduct a similar program in 2011 for youths 16 to 17 who were in state custody. Fifteen of the 37 teens referred completed the program, Rucker said.

In the expanded program, youths 16 to 21 don’t have to be in state custody to take part, she said. The program has room for 40 youths.

Those participating will first go through about four weeks of training that will include such things as how to apply and search for a job, how to prepare a resume and life skills.

“We’ll work one on one with them to assess their skill levels and interests,” she said. “We try to get them a job in line with their interests.”

After the training, youths will be assigned to work up to 25 hours a week for 90 days with one of the participating employers. Grant money will reimburse the employers half of minimum wage. She noted, however, that the employer may pay more than minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.

Employers who are interested in participating should call Rucker at 316-337-9444, ext. 110. Referral agencies and youth who are interested should contact Heidi Cleveland at 316-337-9444, ext. 119.

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