Tuesday August 23, 2005
LOUISVILLE (August 23, 2005) – With tens of thousands of students heading back to school in recent days, Mayor Jerry Abramson today opened a new, downtown education and employment assistance center for young people between the ages of 16 and 21.
The center will help fill the gap left by the federal government’s elimination of funding for several youth programs in Louisville.
Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) is a one-stop center to connect young people with jobs and professional or educational training for career advancement. Services include:
· Extensive database of potential employers
· Resume counseling
· G.E.D. classes
· Professional certification classes
· Career counseling
· Workplace problem-solving classes
The services are free and the center is open to all Louisville residents in the age group. Outreach efforts will focus on those who have become disengaged from high school or higher education and are unemployed.
“We know this is a critical age when it comes to establishing life-long job skills,” said Abramson. “It’s my hope that young people will find a job they like that will lead to a career they love.”
When a young person enters the Y.O.U. center, needs and goals are assessed immediately. A career center counselor is available to help with resume building and job applications. The center is linked to a database of employers with job opportunities that may fit a young person’s needs and qualifications. Participants receive direction about how to dress for success or deal with conflict while on the job.
Through a partnership with KentuckianaWorks and the Jefferson County Public School’s Adult and Continuing Education program, G.E.D. classes and professional certification courses for careers like healthcare assistants are available. The Y.O.U. center already has 108 participants enrolled in the program.
“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to help deliver customized services for out-of-school or at-risk young people,” said Julie Scoskie, director of JCPS’s adult-education program. “We are eager to assist all young people who walk through the doors reach their employment and educational goals.”
The location of the one-stop center also is tailored to young people. It occupies the sixth floor of the Jefferson Education building at the corner of Second and Broadway – across the street from the Jefferson Community Technical College campus. If a participant would like to continue his or her education, counselors may direct that young person to different floors in the building to apply for classes at JCTC or for financial aid.
“It has been a long-term vision to open a one-stop career center focused on the special needs of young people,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks. “We are eager to introduce young adults to the Y.O.U. center. It’s a trip to downtown Louisville that may literally change their lives.
Abramson provided $150,000 for the program in this year’s budget. Other partners include Louisville Metro’s Office of Youth Development, the CREW Career Center, the Kentuckiana College Access Center, Jefferson Community Technical College, Office of Employment and Training, Home Depot, UPS and Humana Inc.
All services are free to participants and some receive financial rewards for completing different steps of the program. The Y.O.U. center is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information call 311 or 213-2637.