Workforce Center gets stimulus money for youth job program

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center will receive $1.4 million from The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for its Summer Work Experience program.

Youths, ages 16 to 24, can gain paid work experience, from May 1 to September 30.

“We hope to create 300 work experiences this summer,” said Jeanne Cotter, spokeswoman for PPWFC. “Three hundred young people will get paid and their experience will hopefully lead to future employment.”

One caveat of the program, she said, is that employers cannot replace a paid position, nor displace a current employee.

But, in this economy, what’s not to love?

Youths get paid to gain experience, and employers gain workers without the usual costs.

Participating employers may be eligible for incentives such as partially subsidized on-the-job training or tax credits, and wages and workers’ compensation costs, of course, are covered by the program.

Certain businesses, such as zoos, casinos/gaming facilities, aquariums, pools and golf courses are not eligible for the program.

And high-demand career fields, including health care, applied sciences/engineering, computer systems/technology and green industries are especially sought-after for the program.

Interested employers should submit a job description to Michelle Graham, director of youth programs, at graham.m@ppwfc.org.

Youths can visit the PPWFC Web site www.ppwfc.org for more information.

“It’s an exciting program,” Cotter said. “It’s a win-win for employers and youths.

“And it will help youths develop soft skills in a work environment.”