• 55°

Funds for summer youth program up for 2013

Federal funding for at least one summer youth work program has been increased this year by almost $90,000.

The Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services is slated to get $344,859 for the Targeted Assistance for Needy Families program that will allow youth from the age of 14 to 24 years to get work experience. That compares with the $255,857 the program received in 2012.

This year the program, which has been sporadic for the county in the past, will be administered by the department rather than contracting it out to the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

“They have done it a couple of other times,” Gene Myers, director of the DJFS, said. “The CAO did it last year, but this year since it looks like it is to be established on an ongoing basis, this time we will operate the program within the agency.”

The TANF program funds employers to hire youth whose families are 200 percent below the poverty level. The program funds reimburse the employers who hire the youth.

“It is a good thing for young people to establish a work history,” Myers said. “We are going to contact employers or they can contact us. We try to match the youth with the type of employment out there.”

When Myers initially went to the Lawrence County Commissioners for them to approve the DJFS to run the program, CAO director D.R. Gossett lobbied for his agency to continue as administrator.

“I felt there was a certain amount of efficiency,” Gossett said. “That is what we do, connect adults with employers. We have our own summer youth program and essentially you end up running two parallel programs, which I thought was inefficient. I didn’t think it was a natural fit. But that is their discretion. I thought it was better to do it the way we have done it in the past.”

Since the CAO was already managing other work programs, the agency did not pay a specific in-house salary for the TANF.

“We didn’t take very much administratively,” Gossett said. “We might have taken some for the case manager, but it was very small.

However, Myers said the families of the young people eligible for the program are already the department’s clients

“We work with these families all the time,” he said. “With a little bit more time and effort we have to make that connection with that employers but they are families we work with all the time. They are familiar with us and we are familiar with them.”