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County’s youth jobs program in works

3/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — County officials have already begun to recruit youths looking for summer jobs for this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

Summit County Council members were briefed on plans for this year during the March 24 Health and Human Services Committee meeting.

Christine Marshall, deputy director for workforce development for the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), said providers began signing up youths for the program March 17. She added that last year’s program served 1,100 Summit County youths, but officials this year have a goal of seeing 1,600 youths take part.

To participate, youths must be at least 16 years old by June 1 and may not turn 25 before June 1. Registration for the program will be taken by phone on a first-come, first-served basis, according to DJFS officials.

Youths or their parents may call to register. ZIP codes are used to determine the agency youths will contact to register:

  • ZIP codes 44210, 44302, 44303, 44304, 44307, 44308, 44311, 44313, 44314, 44320, 44321, 44325 and 44333 should call 234-542-4176 to register with the Akron Urban League (AUL);
  • ZIP codes 44224, 44250, 44260, 44262, 44264, 44278, 44301, 44305, 44306, 44310 and 44312 should call 330-374-9477 to register with Jobs for Ohio Graduates (JOG); and
  • ZIP codes 44056, 44067, 44087, 44203, 44216, 44221, 44223, 44232, 44236, 44286, 44319, 44685 and 44720 should call 330-643-8014 to register with Youth Employment for Success (YES).

Those who call must have the youth’s full legal name, Social Security number, birth date and two telephone numbers at which the youth can be reached.

Once registered, youths will get information about eligibility determination and placement in the program. Youths whose household incomes are at 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible.

Marshall said this year the program would feature a new emphasis on job-readiness skills. The department is looking to add a class on “soft skills” that youths need to be successful after a survey found many of the employers last year found the participants to be lacking in some skills.

Also, this year the state will require that participating youths register at the Ohio Means Jobs website.

In other business, the Planning and Economic Development Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution authorizing the county to move forward on two lease agreements with Akron Phoenix Development Co. for the former Firestone manufacturing facility. Plans call to consolidate the DJFS, currently housed in four separate offices, in the building located at 1180 S. Main St., as well as the Department of Environmental Services, Board of Revision, Administrative Services — Physical Plants, Summit Soil and Water, The Ohio State University Extension and County Records Office, which are currently located at 2525 State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

Councilwoman Gloria Rodgers (R-District 3) asked Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, what will happen after the lease period of 19-and-a-half years is over. Dodson said the lease could be extended at that time for an additional three years. The rent will increase at that time, but the county will have been paying below market value for the contract, he added.

Councilman Tim Crawford (D-District 7) said he agrees the DJFS offices should be consolidated, but he noted his preference to look across the street from the county’s Ohio Building for a prime location on South Main Street.

“I think the government has to take an effort,” he said, in improving the block that also is home to the Akron Civic Theatre. “This is a good deal, and I don’t mean to take away from that. I still think we need to look at that property as government and take a hold of that.”

Councilwoman Sandra Kurt (D-at large) said she supports using the Firestone site.

“The choice we’ve made is really the optimal choice,” she said.

Dodson added that county officials will be meeting soon with Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters to show him the State Road building, which will be actively marketed.

During the Public Works Committee, members recommended Council adopt a resolution authorizing the county to advertise for bids for roadway and engineering projects, bridge engineering and construction projects and pavement maintenance projects in this year’s Capital Improvement Program at an estimated cost of $4.3 million.

Among the projects, according to Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, are the resurfacing of Quick Road and two phases of improvements to Riverview Road.

Also Monday, Council presented a commendation to Walsh Jesuit High School wrestler and state champion Mike Kostandaras, who is the grandson of Councilman Nick Kostandaras (D-District 1), of Richfield.

Council will next meet March 31 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by a regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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