For Immediate Release - June 05, 2007

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES SUMMER JOB PROGRAM FOR AT-RISK YOUTH

Calls on Bay State employers to participate

LYNN - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - Governor Patrick today called on employers statewide to hire youth for summer employment during a visit to the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute to kick off the start of YouthWorks, the Commonwealth's statewide summer jobs initiative for low-income youth ages 14-21.

This summer, YouthWorks funding of $4.6 million, an increase from the $4 million allocated last year, is available to 22 cities across Massachusetts, including Lynn and Salem, and will provide more than 2,500 youths with job opportunities.

Joined by Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne M. Bump, Lynn Mayor Edward "Chip" Clancy, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, school officials and area employers, Patrick called on more employers to participate in YouthWorks.

"By giving our children the opportunity to work during the summer months, we are providing them with the chance to learn the skills that will help them in the world beyond the classroom," said Governor Patrick. "Investing in YouthWorks is a win-win proposition for employers and youth across the Commonwealth."

Patrick also urged employers to call a new toll-free hotline that has been established, (866) 968-8461, to learn how to get involved with YouthWorks in their region.

Officials noted that providing summer employment for teens is a relatively inexpensive proposition. For example, a 20 hour per week job paying $7.50 per hour costs an employer just $150 per week or $1,200 for an eight-week experience.

"We know that there has been a decline in the labor force participation rate among teens. While there is no quick fix, YouthWorks provides a good starting point," said Bump. "Employer involvement is absolutely vital to the success of YouthWorks because the demand for jobs far exceeds the supply of available opportunities."

In 2006, 220 Lynn area teens were employed through YouthWorks. This year's goal is to place 300 teens. Last year, more than 700 teens applied for program consideration. Participating teens attend workshops on basic job readiness skills for finding, getting and keeping a job, including proper dress, resume writing and interviewing.

Several North Shore employers, including North Shore Bank, General Electric Engines, Garelick Farms and Verizon, have either provided job opportunities or financial support to the local program known as FirstJobs.

"For the past two years we have hired teens and found it to be a great decision for everyone," said Beth Tichy, Vice President of Human Resources at North Shore Bank. "The bank had great help during the summer months, our full time employees enjoyed having a new face in the mix that they could mentor and watch grow, and the teens learned about working and about banking from the employees around them! I would advise any company to bring on a young person in the summer months - all around a wonderful experience"

YouthWorks is administered by the quasi-public agency, Commonwealth Corporation, on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The North Shore Workforce Investment Board administers the YouthWorks program in Lynn and Salem.

"We know that teens want to work, and know that jobs can be hard to find," said Mary Sarris, Executive Director for the North Shore Workforce Investment Board. "Our goal is to strategically create teen jobs, and with the support of the Governor, our partners in the state legislature, and the local business community, we will succeed."

For further information on YouthWorks, visit www.commcorp.org.

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