New Partnership to Create Summer Jobs for Jacksonville Low-Income Teenagers

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Up to 100 low-income teens in Jacksonville will have paying jobs this summer through a new collaboration of local nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses.

The collaborative, called the Jacksonville Summer Youth Job Preparation and Employment Program,  will be funded by a $240,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, which will support training, job stipends and transportation costs.

“We know from experience that job training and summer employment can make a significant difference in the lives of young people,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “We are particularly excited to see so many different community stakeholders come together to make this new initiative possible.”

The initiative is modeled after the highly successful Tipping The Scale program, which has operated in Jacksonville for 12 years, matching at-risk youth with summer and year-round work experiences, job training, mentoring and coaching. (See Tipping the Scale’ Helps Teens Discover Responsibility and Possibility, at http://clientuat.us/wordpress/jessiedupont/tipping-the-scale-helps-teens-discover-responsibility-and-possibility/ )

While Tipping the Scale is successful, its growth has been limited by the availability of funds to support additional training and stipends for more students and their adult colleagues. In late 2011, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund convened representatives of area youth-serving nonprofits, hospitals, United Way of Northeast Florida and The Community Foundation in Jacksonville to explore ways to build on the success of Tipping the Scale.

The result was the Jacksonville Summer Youth Job Preparation and Employment Program. The program emulates Tipping the Scale in that it provides a triad of supports — pre-employment training, on-the-job coaching and outside-the-job monitoring — for youth as they experience the world of work for the first time.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are more than 5,000 youth, ages 16-19, in Duval County who are seeking, but unable to find, employment.

Beginning in April, The Bridge of Northeast Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida and Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida will refer to the program youth who are between 16-19 years of age, eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and willing and able to attend jobs skills development training.

Youth who are referred will attend the Job Readiness Skills Training Program, conducted by Tipping the Scale staff at multiple sites in Jacksonville over four Saturdays in April and May. The curriculum includes courses in financial literacy; resumes, references and thank you letters; successful job interview skills; and accountability and consequences. Each participant who successfully completes the training earns a certificate that can be shared with potential employers.

Up to 100 youth who successfully complete training will be eligible to interview for part-time (15 hours a week) or full-time (30 hours a week) jobs at a variety of private and nonprofit businesses in Jacksonville. Each employer agrees to designate an adult on staff as an employer coach. The coaches, who will receive their own training prior to the start of the program, will be responsible for on-site orientation and training of the youth employee, and regular evaluations of the youth.

In addition, each youth will receive support from the Youth Development Specialist at the nonprofit from which he or she was referred. These specialists will maintain contact with the youth throughout the employment period, visit them on the job and connect with the youth’s employer coach.

All of these activities will be overseen and monitored by the Program Coordinator, who will be based at United Way of Northeast Florida, which is serving as the fiduciary agent for the program.

All youth employed through the program will be paid $7.25 per hour — the federal minimum wage.

Nonprofit organizations and businesses participating in the collaborative as of the end of March are: Baptist Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida, The Bridge of Northeast Florida, Communities In Schools, Folio Weekly, Jacksonville Suns, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, JP Morgan Chase, Junior Achievement, St. Vincent’s Medical Center,  United Way of Northeast Florida, World Golf Foundation and YMCA of Florida’s First Coast.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund makes grants to more than 330 eligible organizations identified by Mrs. duPont in her will. The Fund has assets of more than $264 million and has awarded more than $318 million in grants since 1977.

Contact:

Sherry Magill, president
904-353-0890 / smagill@dupontfund.org

Mary Kress Littlepage, KBT & Associates
904-384-8496 / mekl@comcast.net