For more than a decade, Cuyahoga County and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) have partnered to provide the Summer Youth Employment Program and give young people summer jobs. While those jobs succeeded in giving young people summer employment with a paycheck, they typically did not put those youth on a career path.
The county has now transformed its summer jobs program into a paid internship program with the goal of providing teens and young adults with jobs, training, and education that serve as a pipeline to career opportunities.
“It’s great to give our young people a summer job, but it can be life-changing when those jobs set a youth on a path to a successful career,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Our transformed County Internship Program provides young people with high-quality work opportunities that lead to training and education, and this propels them on a career path. And we are not waiting for summer to start these services, TANF eligible 18- to 24-year-olds will be screened and referred to services now.”
The County leveraged $173,473 in Health and Human Service Levy funds to create a fund of more than $8 million of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This fund supports a consortium of workforce, training, and education providers to work with area businesses. The continued investment in workforce programs helps the county ensure that young people in Cuyahoga County are on their way to a successful career while businesses get a pipeline of candidates for vacant jobs.
In order to support youth workforce development in Cuyahoga County, county council approved a contract with Y.O.U. to lead the consortium of workforce providers to deliver career and workforce development services to youth ages 14-24. In 2017, the consortium included Cuyahoga Community College, Towards Employment, Ohio Guidestone, El Barrio/The Centers for Families and Children, the Family and Children First Council and hundreds of area businesses, faith-based institutions, and non-profits. For 2018, the consortium has grown to align independent internship programs.
The new alliance will deliver comprehensive and year-round workforce services, including career exploration, job readiness, career coaching, ongoing case management, credential training, and employer engagement and permanent placement to program participants. Applications are now being accepted for Cuyahoga County residents ages 14-24 years old at jobs.youthopportunities.org.