By Tim Leeds
District IV Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) is looking for low-income youths, age 19- to 21-years-old, from Hill, Liberty or Blaine counties to enroll in the Youth Employment program, Karen Thomas of HRDC said.
Services through the program may include hands-on computer training, personal and career counseling, workshops and paid work experience.
Thomas said the program actually includes ages 14 and up, but the younger part of the program is pretty well full already. She said they are required to enroll a certain number of people out of school, which is why they are targeting the 19-21 age group now.
She said the ultimate goal is to help the people enrolled get jobs. In addition to counseling and training services, the program can subsidize pay to reduce the cost for employers to hire youths enrolled in the program. She said the target is up to 200 hours of subsidized pay, so that the youth enrolled will have enough training and experience to get a permanent non-subsidized job.
Thomas said they try to spread the grant money out as much as possible.
"The more people we can serve, the better," she said.
Thomas said HRDC is required to provide supportive services to the youths enrolled. She said they broker the services to other agencies in the community for the youths enrolled. She said they are required to help enrollees find support in 10 areas. She said they don't have to give the services, but have to make sure the services are available.
The age, income and residency are the only requirements, but they also look at barriers to prioritize services, Thomas said. She said issues such as being a high school dropout, being homeless or being pregnant or parenting will usually give an enrollee higher priority for the program, although these are not hard-and-fast rules.
Thomas said one of the goals of the program for the 14-18 age group is to try to keep them enrolled in school. She said that's part of the reason they are targeting the higher age group now, to help them gain out-of-school experience.
The target enrollment for the program is about 35, which is not a lot, Thomas said. She said other programs were also applied for, but were unable to be funded.
"The dollars are really short in this area," she said; "all areas in Montana, really."
Thomas said the program is grant-funded through the Montana Job Training Partnership. She said the fiscal year for the program runs from July 1 to June 30. She said youths can apply for the program at any time, and will be accepted as long as funding is available.
For more information about the program, contact Thomas, Darrel Hannum or Greg Tilleman at District 4 HRDC, 265-6743 or 1-800-640-6743.