12/27/17 — City to put teens to work

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City to put teens to work

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on December 27, 2017 5:50 AM

News-Argus file photo

Ethan Sellers, Habitat for Humanity site supervisor, shows Kyree Williams how to correctly mix paint at one of Habitat's homes, during his work in the 2017 summer job program.

Teens interested in a summer job through the city of Goldsboro's employment program will be able to start filling out applications as early as this week.

The popularity of the program, which drew 300 applicants in its first year, in 2017, may also expand in the future, after a recent Goldsboro City Council discussion about hiring an employee to help manage the effort.

Teens between the ages of 14 and 18 can start the application paperwork as early as Thursday, when city applications are planned to be added to the city of Goldsboro website, said Shycole Simpson-Carter, Goldsboro community relations director.

The applications, which can also be picked up at the Goldsboro Community Relations Department in City Hall, can be submitted for consideration starting Jan. 9 and continuing through Feb. 9.

"The sponsoring partners and the city are excited about the upcoming summer 2018 youth employment program cycle," Simpson-Carter said.

"Where comprehensive workforce development and boosting a youth's self-esteem are the focus and providing enabling work sites are the primary resources, youth in the program can increase positive life outcomes."

The 2018 program is set to offer at least 47 city-funded jobs, at $7.25 per hour, and efforts continue to determine whether the Goldsboro Housing Authority will provide another 13 jobs, as it did in 2017, she said. The city cost of $45,400 will come primarily from the city's general fund, $35,900, and supplemented with Community Development Block Grant funding.

The program will remain mostly the same during its second year, except for income thresholds playing a role in the selection process following city council interest in serving low-income families, Simpson-Carter said.

Income limit amounts include $32,400 for a family of two, $36,450 for a family of three, $40,450 for a family of four, $43,750 for a family of five, up to $53,500 for a family of eight.

"... an applicant must be within the income level based on the number of members within the household to be eligible for the program," Simpson-Carter said.

Teenagers will need to live within the city of Goldsboro and attend a mandatory information session to be eligible. Two information sessions are available this year, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 9 or Jan. 11 in the Moffatt Auditorium of Wayne Community College. Youth who worked in the 2017 program can apply again.

The summer jobs include 20 hours of work per week during a six-week period, either June 11 through July 20 or July 9 through Aug. 18.

Teens will be selected for jobs that match their interests and skills, and jobs will vary to include office work, light labor and recreation support. The program will also provide an education component where youth can learn soft skills and other training to help improve success in the workplace. Two out-of-town trips are also planned, including a visit to the N.C. General Assembly and the beach.

A selection committee will play a role in screening applications, interviewing candidates and making hiring decisions. The committee includes employees from the Goldsboro Community Relations Department, Goldsboro Housing Authority, Wayne Community College and N.C. Works Career Center. The committee will also approve work sites that can include local government, small businesses and nonprofits.

Following the Feb. 9 application deadline, the process of combing through applications and scheduling interviews will start. The final selections will be made in May.

In future years, the program may expand, with city staff currently discussing the possibility of adding another city employee, which would help manage the program.

City Manager Scott Stevens recently told the city council that another employee would be needed, if the council is interested in a larger program.

"I do think increasing that number is important, but I don't think we can do it with existing staff," Stevens said. "If the council wants us to hire more kids, I can bring back a proposal. It will take a person to do it, and it will take coordinating with the businesses."

Councilman Antonio Williams, during the council's Dec. 18 work session, asked if he could be a part of the selection committee, a role he's asked for in the past.

"No offense, but (a) council member should not be involved in the hiring of these kids," Stevens said. "That is a staff responsibility, and we pulled in agencies that have some expertise beyond us to be that group to help."

Williams, who initially asked that the city start the program in 2017, has said, on more than one occasion, that the program needs to employ a higher number of teens.

Mayor Chuck Allen has also suggested that city officials reach out to area employers and seek additional job opportunities for Goldsboro youth.