(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Crossing Nutrition Center has teamed up with the St. Joseph Youth Alliance to extend the Youth Employment Program, giving young adults another opportunity to gain work experience so they can eventually land a job.
The first two young adults, Hailey, 20 and Vincent, 18, are wrapping up their first full week of work.
Stocking shelves with bread, packing bags with produce and cleaning up spills., those are a few tasks the two do daily.
"It's extremely hard to get a job," said Vincent, "I've been trying to find another job since last July."
Vincent says this program will be the leg up for him to land a job.
"No matter how many applications I put in, or how many interviews I go through, just because I'm young and I don't have much experience most places won't hire," said Vincent. "How am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire?"
The St. Joseph Youth Alliance is working to answer that very question with its ongoing youth employment program.
"We want young adults 17 to 24 to be able to get into the workforce," said Youth Alliance Case Manager Misty Cole. "We want to help the youth in St. Joe by identifying barriers and helping [young adults] get past them, like if they have trouble with transportation we help them with that."
Through a federal grant, the Youth Alliance pays young adults in the program to learn money management and also helps participants finish their high school level equivalent education.
"I have wanted to be a CNA for so long so I think it's so awesome that they are helping us young adults try to be the best we can be," said Hailey.
Organizers say participants are learning hard and soft skills during the program..
"When a person starts working at a young age it gives them a chance to experience life from a different aspect," said Crossing Nutrition Center volunteer and mentor Paul Bryant. "We keep them focused on what's important like being on time and keeping your boss and customers happy."
Program organizers say they would like to have around 50 young adults working at the Crossing Nutrition Center through the program.
"I feel like we have hope now," said Vincent. "It like we may actually be successful with what we want to do."
To sign up for the program contact the St. Joseph Youth Alliance at 816-232-0050.
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