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Workforce Investment Council

Summer Youth Success

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Workforce Challenge

In Clackamas County, Oregon, as is the case around the nation, there are limited job opportunities for adults, which means even fewer work experiences for youth. As businesses continue massive lay-offs, giving a youth an opportunity, even if it is an internship, can be a hard sell. Youth are not getting these first job experiences and thus not gaining the job readiness skills that they will need for beginning their careers.

Workforce Solution

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds enabled Clackamas County to get youth the job readiness training and work experience they need to be successful in the future. For many years the region has assisted youth to get summer internships, but due to limited funds the number of youth enrolled is not nearly as great as the need. With these funds, we were able to serve almost seven times the number of youth we had previously enrolled.

All of the youth were enrolled in two weeks of bootcamp, where they received resume writing assistance, interviewing assistance, work readiness training and job specific training. Each youth that made it through the bootcamp was then interviewed for specific work experiences, based on their interests and strengths. Some were placed with local employers in an internship. Others were placed on crews where they learned important on-the-job skills while making a positive impact on their community. Some older youth were placed in career pathways which was a more intense training looking at high wage, high growth and high demand careers to conduct training and work experience simultaneously.

Outcomes & Benefits

All of the youth in the ARRA program received college credit, a monetary incentive that went back into the economy, and the work readiness experience so many youth are in need of. After the program ended, some of the youth got jobs with the employer in which they had internships. In a survey conducted after the 2010 Summer Youth Program, 95% of participants stated the experience better prepared them for their future. 100% of respondents reported they would recommend the program to a friend.

Following are a few examples of the outcomes of this program:

Ben worked in an internship at the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce, where he assisted in planning events and membership development projects. As his internship came to an end, the staff at the chamber was so impressed with his work, they offered him a regular position. Ben works part-time as an assistant to the transportation management team while he pursues his business management degree.

Colton was placed in an internship with First Star Productions where he worked with a team to create a 15 minute video on the Summer Youth Academy. Colton continues to work freelance for the company as he is working towards his degree. Successful in many aspects of our year-round program as well, Colton was flown to Chicago to make two presentations at a national conference about his experience with our Workforce Investment Act program.

Alli was part of our Manufacturing Career Pathways program. We have many manufacturers in our county who are looking for experienced technicians. As part of her training, Alli learned about safety, welding, blueprints and fabrication at Oregon Iron Works Inc. They were so impressed with her enthusiasm, commitment and talent, Alli was hired on for a part-time manufacturing job with Oregon Iron Works.

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