Friday October 8, 2010
The success of the WorkNow Kentucky program in providing summer jobs for Kentucky’s disadvantaged youth and adults with children can’t be measured only by the number of people employed this summer. Behind each of those 814 young residents in Jefferson and Bullitt counties who participated in the program, there is a story that resonates about how important the work experience was to each individual.
William Lancaster, a 19-year-old sophomore telecommunications major at Murray State University, was among the 772 Jefferson County young adults employed through WorkNow Kentucky. He gained career skills and earned money while spending his summer doing what he likes to do – computer technology.
“It’s giving me experience with the work, of course, but personally it’s teaching me small things that will help me later – job skills, job etiquette,” he said. “The instructors were just all great coaches. They helped me, taught me some lessons and gave me good advice on my future career and just life in general. They were real, real helpful.”
“It is hearing experiences like William’s that make this program worthwhile,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson. “Whether WorkNow Kentucky participants were employed by the public school system, Metro Public Works Department or Kroger, they were doing meaningful work. They also were learning about the world of work, what it takes to be good employees and how to manage the money they were earning. In addition, employers received subsidies for the wages and benefits of eligible participants. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved in WorkNow Kentucky.”
Third District Congressman John Yarmuth said, “This Recovery Act program put people to work right here in Louisville while giving hundreds of young people in our community skills that will last a lifetime and training that will strengthen our workforce for decades to come.”
Kroger stores in Jefferson County employed 13 WorkNow Kentucky participants this summer as baggers, cashiers and department clerks. Seven were hired to continue working after the program ended in September. "Kroger is privileged to participate in the WorkNow Kentucky Program. The participants brought a variety of skills to our organization and provided great service for customers. We truly appreciate this partnership,” said Tim McGurk, public affairs manager, The Kroger Co., Mid-South Division.
William was one of 500 who were employed through KentuckianaWorks, which administered the program for the Greater Louisville area, and the YOU Center as contractor. The YOU Center is operated by the Jefferson County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education program. WorkNow Kentucky operated in Jefferson and Bullitt counties from early June through Sept. 17.
In addition to being able to get hands-on experience in his career field, William is proud to be able to earn money for school and to purchase things he wants, like a new computer. He said that his summer job, “gave me actually a way to contribute back more than what I do, like things around the house. It gave me financially a way of contributing back to the family,” he said.
A total of 107 private businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, employed WorkNow Kentucky participants in Jefferson and Bullitt counties. More than 700 participants worked 30 hours or more each week.
The 772 Jefferson County and 42 Bullitt County young adults who participated in the summer work program were among nearly 10,000 disadvantaged Kentuckians hired statewide through the program. Approximately $46 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded WorkNow Kentucky.
KentuckianaWorks is the Workforce Investment Board for the Greater Louisville region that consists of Jefferson, Bullitt, Henry, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties.