Connecticut's Youth Employment Program looks to expand this summer
A state program helping young people find work and build professional networks is set to expand this summer. The Connecticut Youth Employment Program runs year round and focuses on young adults who are disconnected, marginalized or underserved in their community.
Patricia E. Kelly, a former U.S. Marine and CEO of Ebony Horsewomen Equestrian and Therapeutic Center, recently hosted Gov. Ned Lamont and state Department of Labor (DOL) officials at an event in Hartford lauding the program's impact.
“We hope for this program to stay and for many more children to go through the program and get these kinds of critical skills, not only here, but across the city,” Kelly said.
Fred Wright, who spent years at Ebony Horsewomen, shared how the summer program benefited his life.
“Helping my family out, buying myself summer clothes and being able to feed myself has become life changing,” Wright said. “But it also pushed me to circle back and be able to help people out in my community.”
Today, Wright is a blacksmith at the farm and is launching a school to teach and train others in the craft.
The DOL funds the program each year. Last summer, approximately 2,570 people participated in the program. Workers’ salaries are covered by the state so employers do not bear payroll costs. Some support services are also provided, including covering expenses for transportation and uniforms, to address frequent barriers to employment.
This year, the DOL reports 3,000 applications have already been submitted for the CT Youth Employment Program.