Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

STIMULUS DOLLARS ARE WORKING IN OUR AREA

More than $600,000 pumped into the local economy
The Minnesota Valley Action Council was able to help 384 youth obtain and keep jobs this past summer. This number is more than twice the number helped last year. All of this is due to additional stimulus dollars coming from the federal government. These youth worked at 218 different work sites in the nine county area. They were paid $7.25 per hour and the funds came from the federal government. These youth received the money through a process set up by MVAC. Upon proof of satisfactory work weeks and hours, the funds were deposited directly into a savings account in the youth’s name.

More than just a job.
This procedure accomplished a dual goal. Not only did the youth learn about appropriate work traits (i.e. getting to work on time, following orders); but they learned about the value of using a savings institution and the idea that earnings can be a way to accomplish larger goals like saving for college or down payments on vehicles. MVAC staff helped the youth connect with a bank and/or apply for opening accounts. Many of the youth had never had a savings or checking account and many of their parents were in similar situations.

Future Rib Fest contestant?
These youth were placed in businesses throughout the nine county area. Some of the Nicollet County businesses were: Pop’s Auto Body, Wakefield Pork, Scholarship America, Good Samaritan Homes, Ace Hardware, Kids Corner, and Playing Possum Antiques. One youth learned to cook at Ron’s Café in Nicollet. Even though his job was to wash dishes, he quickly learned from the owner of the café about food preparation and became so skilled at preparing ribs, the café found many new patrons during their Rib Night specials.

Permanent jobs this fall
Some of the youth ended their jobs and returned to school. Some of them earned credits toward their graduation through the program. But the good news is that as a result of this summer youth program, 54 entered the work force in unsubsidized jobs. Kudos to MVAC staff for the excellent work this summer. And thank you’s need to go to our elected representatives for continued funding of these programs. Each youth sent thank you letters to legislators, congressmen and to President Obama to indicate their thanks. end

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