Thanks to the Summer Youth Work Experience Program, some of Wetzel County's teenagers are employed and working in your community. They are doing tasks such as painting, weed eating, mowing lawns, maintaining sidewalks, cleaning community buildings, and much more.
The youth are at the city parks, city buildings, along creek banks, and other areas in Wetzel County earning money and learning what it is like to work for an employer and have a supervisor.
They are gaining job skills with pay, and as one youth pointed out, "I appreciate I have a job this summer since they are hard to find."
Summer Youth Work Experience Program participants gather for a group photo at the Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department. (Photo by Tammy Wayman)
The Summer Youth Work Experience Program is through the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board that provides services and programs to adults and youth in the northern panhandle in West Virginia. It is funded by federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
This program lasts six weeks and is available to youth ages 14 to 24. They started work on June 22 and the program will end on July 30. The youth work 32 hours a week for $7.25 an hour, Monday through Thursday. Their supervisors are being paid $9 an hour and are working the same hours. One teenager, Justin Bucher, noted it was a good source of income with the program.
At the Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department, some of youth workers of Wetzel County commented on this program. "It's a really good experience on how to go to work and it's a good opportunity," stated Cassey Edgell. Another teenager, Codie Leek, commented that, "I am learning how to do multitasking."
Their program monitor, Michael Fluharty, explained that the youth work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. "They are gaining job skills needed and future job preparation," said Fluharty. He explained it is more than just working outside. He stated that in classroom time they learn out to fill out their W-4 work sheets for an employer, do their time cards, and "keep track of their hours worked to get paid," noting some youth never had to do that before.
Ida Morris, site supervisor, also explained, "They have a three-hour class each week in which they do resumes and have mock interviews to help them later for future jobs."
Fluharty said this also gives the kids work experience they need, which in turn will help with future employers. "Some of these jobs include green projects-beautification of the community," noted Fluharty. Hundred's City Council members made a list of what needed to be accomplished in their town by the youth workers.
Pine Grove outlined projects that would help beautify their community. Buck Leek, work site supervisor in the Pine Grove area, noted, "The kids are good workers."
Another teenager, Marissa Thomas of Proctor explained, "We are getting a lot of good comments," regarding the work they have done so far with the Summer Youth Work Program.