"America's young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they've got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It's important for their future, and for America's…That's why today, we're launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America's youth"
As the White House and Department of Labor kick off the Summer Jobs+ program with the announcement of some innovative smartphone apps to assist in the job search, we’d like to highlight the work our Drug Free Communities grantees are doing to help young people find jobs.
After the Pulaski Community Partners Coalition (PCPC) in Pulaski, Virginia, became a Drug Free Communities grantee, members found that joblessness was contributing to a sense of hopelessness in the area, which in turn greatly increased substance abuse in all ages. Businesses in the area also had difficulty finding a skilled, drug-free work force.
PCPC set out to build a skilled, drug-free workforce by giving youth the experience necessary to help them to visualize a successful future without alcohol and drugs. To do this, PCPC developed a “Youth Training Center” (YTC) program, which they will pilot this summer. The pilot program will target 14- to 18-year-olds and those that successfully complete the program will receive a stipend.
The YTC program has two parts: classroom training and hands-on work experience.
The program teaches soft skills like resume writing, filling out job applications, interviewing, appropriate dress and body language. The youth participants will be trained in how to take initiative in the workplace. Program staff will discuss the impact substance abuse can have both on current employment and future prospects. Then, the youth will put their skills to work in a safe, supervised job setting.
The program has partnered with various businesses and organizations including: the Pulaski County Juvenile Court Services, the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Pulaski Police Department, the Pulaski Library, and the Department of Business at Virginia Tech. These partners will provide training and employment opportunities to youth involved in the program.
ONDCP applauds PCPC for their efforts to create and train a young, drug-free workforce for the future of their community and looks forward to the success of the program in the coming years.