Local News

Few businesses hire stimulus-funded workers

Posted June 17, 2009 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2009 6:39 p.m. EDT

— A local youth employment program has millions of dollars in hand but few places to spend it.

The Capital Area Workforce Development Board, which runs 22 Job Link centers in Wake and Johnston counties, received $3.2 million in federal stimulus funds and earmarked part of it to create about 600 part-time summer jobs for youths.

The youths, ages 16 to 24, get paid $7.25 an hour, working 35 hours a week for seven weeks. Because they are paid with stimulus money, the program doesn't cost businesses anything.

About 500 of the jobs have been filled, but Regina Crooms, executive director of the work force board, said not enough businesses have stepped forward to offer jobs.

"We would like to have more businesses," Crooms said. "These young adults have gone through orientation. They know what positive workplace behavior is. They've gone through the drills, so if you can utilize additional help, (they can provide it)."

Christina Lawrence obtained a job through the program working with educators with the Kenan Fellows Program. The program provides two-year fellowships to math and science teachers statewide to boost leadership and teacher retention.

"I just didn't want to be stuck with having TJ Maxx – a retail job – on my resume," Lawrence said.

"We've just received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, and Christina be working on some of the background research that will be necessary to put that grant in place," said Valerie Schild, director of the Kenan Fellows.

Because of the tight time frame for the summer jobs, Crooms said she needs to recruit more businesses quickly.

"I'm going to go out and knock on doors," she said.