Mayor Darrell Steinberg this week announced a program that aims to put hundreds of high school students to work by June in minimum-wage positions at local companies. The goal is to give job skills to teens who have barriers to employment or may not be college bound.
The program targets young people from disadvantaged areas and with difficult personal backgrounds. Students from about 30 participating high schools can apply. Those accepted are guaranteed work, said Erica Kashiri, the mayor’s head of workforce development.
The more disadvantaged the candidate, the better, she said. The online application asks if teens are homeless, have disabilities, are parents, pregnant or have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
Kashiri said answers are voluntary and won’t go to employers or the city. The questions are being asked to ensure that the youth jobs project inclusive of all backgrounds, not to determine eligibility.
That deserves saying again. To ensure a diverse youth jobs program. Not to determine eligibility.
“It’s to ensure the group is diverse,” said Kashiri. “The whole thing is opening access. It’s just giving that chance to those not typically given a chance.”
Employers in our community want to employ young people with convictions on their record. Those who are pregnant. Those who have disabilities. Those who are homeless.
About 700 students are expected to take part the first year. The program has about 240 employers and 400 students signed up so far after unofficially launching days ago.
Participants will receive 40 hours of job training before working and will have job coaches and support services available. The city will work with employers to provide specific skills when requested, such as computer training.
Paul Douglas of Siemens Industries said his company will take multiple interns at its local manufacturing facilities. Siemens will focus on kids with an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Siemens builds trains in Sacramento and has a West Sacramento facility that makes security, fire and other systems for buildings.
“We’re not just looking for help,” Douglas said. “We want to introduce these kids to opportunities for their career advancement.”
Come fall, those who want to keep going – and are succeeding – will be able to work up to 10 hours a week during the school year at Siemens and other employers. Participants also will receive free Regional Transit passes.
“This is fast and it’s big,” Kashiri said.
The goal, said Steinberg, is to create a link between local schools and the growing economy.
Goal is to serve about 1,000 teenagers. The program is backed by more than $2 million in state, local and school district funding. Nearly $1 million from the state Employment Training Panel, an agency that provides financial support for vocational training.
Some specifics of the paid internship/jobs program:
1. The panel would require employers to keep participants on the payroll for at least 90 days after training or 500 hours in a 272-day period for the city to qualify for cost reimbursement.
2. The city matched that state pledge with $925,000 from its general fund. Natomas Unified School District gave $150,000 to the effort. Another matching $150,000 from a local tech company.
3. Workplace skills and technical training at no cost.
4. 500+ hours of paid work over the summer and school year.
5. Access to local and national employers.
6. Must be enrolled in a participating high school and be 16 years old by June 16, 2017
7. Be able to work at least 25 hours per week during the summer and continue working 7-10 hours per week during the school year.
8. Attend a 40-hour work readiness training program.
Businesses are intimately linked with our communities. Companies depend on local consumers to buy their products and use their services.
And in return, businesses provide job opportunities for young workers to improve skills and gain experience. When this dynamic is optimized, in a coordinated effort, the success of businesses reverberates. Communities prosper.
And the entire region benefits from economic growth.
And when economic growth in a region is strong, young talented people stay in the region. And other young people in other areas flock to it.
This creates a larger hiring labor pool. Reduces turnover. Gives businesses the advantage in a competitive global economy.
Hiring motivated youth, with diverse and disconnected backgrounds, isn’t just a noble cause. It makes a direct impact on our own business and the economic health of our communities.
Win-win situation. Everyone benefits. Especially our young people.
Who become participants in our local economies. Working. Paying taxes. Consuming products and services.
Not a constant dependent of public assistance packages.
The youth service providers in your community who state they have a jobs program for young people. Then they must have guaranteed jobs available for young people. If they do not, then they do not have an honest jobs program.
This youth project in Sacramento is a jobs program.