The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today $2.7 million in funding to expand the 2015 youth employment program to include 14- and 15-year-olds. This will give additional teens the opportunity to gain work experience and earn a paycheck.
“Youth employment programs provide paid work experience to low-income teens,” said ODJFS Director Cynthia C. Dungey. “Through these programs, young men and women gain confidence, explore careers and build their resumes.”
“We are pleased to partner on this funded initiative. This employment initiative is one of the key elements of OLBC’s action agenda. Investing in our 14- and 15-years old while giving them work experience is critical at a time when our state is filled with teen suicide, poverty and crime reduction efforts,” said Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, who held a press conference in Hamilton County announcing the initiative with clergy and community leaders today.
ODJFS will provide additional funding to well-established programs in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Montgomery counties. These programs have a proven history of serving 14- and 15-year-olds.
“I’m proud to see a partnership with business owners and community leaders to mentor and train fourteen and fifteen year-olds during summer work employment, which is critical to youth development,” said Rep. Christi Kuhns of Cincinnati.
In the fall, ODJFS will transition from a summer youth employment program to a year-round employment program targeting older teens and young adults, specifically 16- to 24-year-olds. The new program will bring together multiple state and local assistance programs to provide comprehensive case management services to low-income teens and young adults. This early intervention will prioritize education and job training in order to break the cycle of poverty.
Last summer, nearly 13,000 16- to 24-year-olds earned an average of $8.49 per hour working for nearly 3,000 employers in 71 counties.