City officials have ear marked $100,000 towards recreation on Tuesday evening to create a year-round jobs program for young people.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, pushed for additional recreation funding from federal grant money via the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to create a summer job training program, but that did not materialize.
However, Morris did not relent. Instead, when mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration showed little interest in starting up the summer job training program, he attempted to forcefully set aside the funds through the council for the purpose.
Torres’ administration then decided to allot the money to the city’s recreation division to create a job training program that may include a partnership with Youth Build. “So we’re looking at perhaps working with Youth Build,” said Morris.
“That will be a year-round program,” said business administrator Nellie Pou. She said the program will equip young people with trade skills.
Morris also sought re-assurance that the $100,000 will not be used be used on those who are currently participating in the city’s recreation program. We want to extend opportunities to others outside the recreation program, he said.
“I want to give a new group of kids opportunities,” said Morris. He said he doesn’t want the regulars from the recreation program being employed through this program.
Though the funds are being directed towards the city’s recreation division, Morris said the money will be curved out to create a separate program that he hopes will target older young adults and equip them with meaningful skills that will ultimately lead to jobs.
Morris said the program will still employ 100 young people for 20 hours a week at minimum wage. He wanted the program to begin this summer, but with June gone and July midway through he is hoping the program will at least start before summer ends.
“We still got some time to get five weeks of employment out of this,” said Morris, on Monday afternoon.