- Published: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 02:38 PM
DECATUR – For the second summer in row, local youth have benefited from summer employment programs overseen by Workforce Investment Solutions. The programs at Homework Hangout and Youth with a Positive Direction are funded by grants secured by State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) and Representative Sue Scherer (D-Decatur).
The grant awarded by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provides Decatur-area youth with summer employment opportunities that range from landscaping to food service to construction. Since 2013, more than 400 kids have found summer jobs through these programs.
“This year we’ve had 213 kids benefit from the programs offered through Homework Hangout and Youth with a Positive Direction,” said Robyn McCoy, director of Workforce Investment Solutions. “When school lets out for the summer, area youth need the opportunity to learn about different career paths and feel the personal reward of earning their own money.”
Sen. Manar and Rep. Scherer were joined by representatives from Homework Hangout and Margaret Walker from Youth with A Positive Direction at Old Kinds Orchard Community Center, which employed a number of youth this summer, to highlight the benefit of these programs.
“Before the summer of 2013, Decatur youth didn’t have access to the same opportunities as other kids around the state,” Manar said. “Anyone will tell you that your first summer job can make a positive difference in your life trajectory.”
“By providing employment opportunities to young adults in our area, we are not only making a positive investment in their futures, but also in our community,” Scherer said. “We have so many talented students in our area, and I look forward to working with Senator Manar and other community leaders to make sure they have the same opportunities as their peers throughout Illinois."
Workforce Investment Solutions focuses on providing training to workers who’ve been laid off, minimizing periods of unemployment. The non-profit serves Macon and Dewitt counties and is funded through the Workforce Investment Act. This is the second year the organization has received funding to employ youth in the Decatur area. This year the funds totaling $500,000 were distributed between the two local non-profits focused on youth initiatives.