Stimulus Dollars Help Unemployed Find Summer Jobs

Thursday, July 9th 2009, 5:19 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the growing unemployment rate and the fierce job market the competition is getting tougher between young adults and those who recently faced a job loss.

But $1.2 billion in stimulus money is making way for summer jobs across the country including in Oklahoma.

Beginning this week, about 150 kids are in summer job training thanks to stimulus money. In years past, there's been barely enough to support a third of the group.

In one scenic landscape a harvest of a different kind is being cultivated at Metro Tech Centers.

"You never know what you want to do when you get older," summer job trainee Darrion Garrett said.

Garrett is one of dozens working at the Metro Tech Centers because of Oklahoma's $1.3 million in stimulus money used to prep disadvantaged or at-risk youths for the workforce. And employers are looking for certain skills.

"They're not as concerned about what they know when they come, but they're willingness to show up and work and lean and be adaptable at the work site," Eddi Foreman with the Central Oklahoma Work Force Investment Board said.

So for the next six weeks, each youth is digging in and learning the tricks of the trade from math, horticulture and agriculture.

"It's a mystery for some folks where food comes from at all unless you come from experience of even growing it themselves," Horticulture Instructor Dawn Holt said.

Without the summer job training, teens like Garrett and Vincent Hogg would have to face the battle of a fierce job market.

"I probably be looking for a job right now or probably be at home doing nothing, so this is really actually a blessing for me," summer job trainee Vincent Hogg said.

They're learning life lessons by reaping what they sow.

This summer, dozens of youths are also training in non-profits and businesses in Logan and Canadian counties.

Track where the federal stimulus dollars are spent in Oklahoma.