Page 21 - BusinessWest May 2, 2022
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 of the program is to help more people enter or return into the workforce by providing them with jobs, leadership development and career-explora- tion opportunities, and various skills training.
“The intent is to take young people, primar- ily those that live in high-risk, urban areas like Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee, Westfield, and provide them with the opportunity of a struc- tured work experience that usually lasts five to six weeks,” Cruise told BusinessWest, adding that the young people participating are not the only ones who stand to benefit.
“I believe there are some opportunities in the private sector, because many companies are having a difficult time finding the sufficient staff to do their work.”
Those hiring these individuals benefit as well, he said, adding that this is true at any time, but especially when businesses in every sector of the economy are struggling to find enough help to function at full capacity.
The YouthWorks program will see a boost in funding this year, from $2.5 to $3.17 million — enough to fund more than 700 summer jobs and another 130 evening and weekend jobs during the school year. These initiatives are aimed at getting young adults back into the workforce. Because
some of these youth, espe- cially those between the ages of 18 and 25, were displaced from the workforce — either by being disconnected from school or working — Youth- Works gives them the oppor- tunity to find not only a job, but a career they can grow into.
“They may be working part time or under the table, but they’re not in a job that is going to lead them to success,” Cruise explained. “They’re not in a job where they’re in a career that will eventually allow them to make a family-sustaining wage and live at a level they feel comfortable; we have a lot of people beyond the age of 21 that are in the marginal labor market.”
YouthWorks was able to
receive its funding a year
earlier to aid in planning and
serve young people more
efficiently. In the past, the
agency has received separate funds for the sum- mer program and the year-round program. This year, they’ve combined the funds into one lump sum.
“This is the first time we’ve done that; it’s sig- nificant because now we can tie together the summer programming and the work we do dur- ing the school year,” said Cruise. “Several of the
     Dave Cruise says summer jobs bring benefits to both employees and employers.
 youths involved in our summer program can con- tinue on into our year-long program.
“So it has a nice continuity to it,” he went on. “We’re not offering full-time positions, but we do think our older youth have an opportunity to not only have a successful summer program, but to
Summer Jobs
Continued on page 36
     The Valley this Morning with Jess Tyler 7-9 am
The Stephanie Miller Show
  10 am -12 pm
The David Pakman
Afternoon Buzz with Buz Eisenberg 4-5pm
   5-6 pm: Bill Newman Show (rebroadcast) 6-9pm: Bloomberg Busines Week 9pm-12am: The John Batchelor Show
MAY 2, 2022 21
The Bill Newman Show
9-10 am
The Thom Hartmann Program 12 pm-3 pm

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