Stimulus money funds internships
April 28, 2009
The Department of Workforce Services has work for a few dozen young people in Summit County this summer.
Statewide, 11,000 adults ages 18 to 24 have applied for unemployment insurance, giving them the highest rate of unemployment in the state double the average.
Workforce Services officials decided to use some of the federal stimulus money received to fund internship programs for that age group.
Participating employers will receive free labor in exchange for providing experience and on-the-job training.
The money will pay participants 80 percent of the normal wage for the job they do, making it free to employers and providing gainful employment to the young people, explained Karla Aguirre, a program manager in Workforce Services.
The department would like to spend all the money available this summer, so it is seeking as many applicants as possible to make sure every opportunity is used. Only 700 slots are available state-wide, so only lower-income applicants will be considered, she said.
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Income is based on household either the individual if they claim themselves as a dependent, or the income of their parents if they are claimed as a dependent.
"We’ll start eligibility determination in early May," she said.
Shelly Ivie, regional manager for Summit, Wasatch and Utah counties, said the deadline here is May 7. Over 140 slots are available for this area and qualified applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The department is accepting applications from prospective employers as well. Once an individual is accepted into the program, their interests and goals will be matched with the needs of participating employers.
State policy prohibits golf courses, aquariums, zoos or swimming pools from participating as employers.
"We ask them to provide the background check if that’s required, and do the paperwork and timesheet," Aguirre said.
The internship will run from June 1 through Sept. 30, but accommodations can be made for vacations or schools starting before that end date, she said.
Although the wage is only 80 percent of the normal one for the job performed, no taxes will be taken out, so it could potentially net more, she explained.
The average state-wide is estimated to be about $12. Interns should be full-time, but that should not discourage applicants in case a participating employer has a need for a part-time worker.
So far, participating employers in the Salt Lake area include the Veteran Affairs Hospital and Red Butte Garden. Participants in that area will also help measure energy efficiency in the homes of the elderly and work on landscaping at the State Capitol with an architect, she said.
Local employers include the Forest Service, the Park Service and fish hatcheries in Midway, Ivie said.
Lance Pace, a counselor at North Summit High School, said a lot of graduating seniors plan to attend college, but will need summer jobs to pay for it. The employment prospects for young people are not as good as before, so he’s pushing college-bound students to apply for scholarships more than ever before.
Many plan on working in Park City this summer, which may be an easier place to find employment than college towns this summer, he said.
Tera Anderson is the counselor at South Summit High School. She said young people have a lot of anxiety about the job market and she’s talked to a few who are putting off college because of financial worries.
Many in her area find work with neighbors and family members, making gainful employment a safer bet if they stay local.
But she worries about kids with hopes of entering trades that are tied to construction. Last year she couldn’t find an apprenticeship for a young man who wanted to become an electrician.
The Park City office of the Department of Workforce Services 1846 Prospector Avenue.
Applications can be picked up and delivered to that office.