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By Emily Greenhalgh
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PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung announced a $2 million program designed to provide summer employment to more than 1,300 Rhode Island youth.
The program, which was announced Friday, will use state and federal funding to provide employment to Rhode Island youth ages 14 to 24.
The Governor’s Workforce Board is providing $1 million from the state Job Development Fund and the R.I. Department of Human Services is providing the additional $1 million in federal funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Families must meet federal income guidelines to qualify for the 600 TANF-funded job opportunities, but there are no such limitations for the 750 state-funded opportunities.
“This provides not only an economic boost for many of the participants’ families, but it also teaches young people marketable skills that will help them in their future careers,” said Chafee in the release announcing the program.
“It is particularly gratifying that we are able to make federal and state dollars work together to create employment opportunities for young Rhode Islanders,” added Chafee.
According to data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, the average unemployment rate for Rhode Island youth aged 16 to 19 was 29 percent in 2011.
Comparatively, the average unemployment rate across the state as a whole was 11.3 percent during the same period.
“Any time we are able to stand together and offer the youth of this city and state a chance at summer employment, it is a great day,” said Taveras in prepared remarks.
Beginning in July, community-based organizations throughout Rhode Island will offer a combination of work experience and work readiness training.
All participants will be required to complete a workplace certification such as occupational safety or customer service training.
Most programs are slated to run for 20 hours each week for six weeks, with the youth earning minimum wage.
The programs are overseen by the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston.
This is a list of summer youth employment programs funded by the initiative.