Federal stimulus dollars help West Michigan youth find jobs

6:31 AM, Jun 5, 2009   |    comments
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - Governor Granholm has named June Youth Employment Month in Michigan.

This summer, more than 304,000 teenagers are expected to seek jobs in our state. The federal stimulus is making that hunt easier by funding a job training program, creating hundreds of summer jobs.

17-year-old Adrianna Erb of Montague is experiencing the crunch many teens are facing when it comes to finding a summer job.

"It has been hard. All the jobs are full or they are not hiring," she says. "I need money for college."

That desire to work led Adrianna to a summer youth work program offered by her local Michigan Works office.

"This is a great opportunity to give kids who are right now in competition with adults to get these jobs," says Valarie Thompson with the White Lake Workforce Development Center.

Thompson is matching area employers with teenagers looking for jobs. The youth training program provides workers to area employers with the federal government footing the bill.

Jeff Cockerill is requesting one worker. He plans to show his summer helper what it takes to run a hardware store. If everyone's happy, the job may continue when the program ends.

"It's a great way to get to know someone," he says.

Aside from helping teenagers build a resume, Thompson says the program also benefits area businesses.

"[The workers] are also getting a paycheck, so then they are spending their money in the local economy, and that's what the stimulus is all about," she says.

The youth job training program uses $1.2 billion dollars in stimulus funds. The 10 week program is available statewide. It will create thousands of positions for youth ages 14 through 24. Parents or interested youth can apply at the nearest Michigan Works office. Families do need to meet income guidelines, provide proper identification and complete a small amount of paperwork. In Muskegon County, the program runs June 8th through the end of July.

"There was some paperwork but it was easy," says Adrianna.

Adrianna will find out what her job will be next week. Her hopes are high.

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