PIERCE COUNTY — To connect more young people to jobs in Pierce County, the Pierce County Council unanimously approved an initiative aimed at youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25.
Under this new youth and young adult jobs program, the county will partner with WorkForce Central, which will take the lead to connect young adults to career opportunities.
Eligible participants between 16 and 17 years old will be paid minimum wage of $13.50 an hour, while those 18 to 25 years old will receive minimum wage of $15 an hour.
The program is funded by $500,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act monies awarded to the county from the federal government. The council previously authorized allocation of these funds to support Economic Stabilization and Recovery Programs as part of its larger COVID-19 response efforts.
The County Council dedicated another $250,000 in CARES Act funding to support local school districts with existing Career and Technical Education programs. The money is available to eligible districts to help students learn about available career opportunities in Pierce County.
Councilmember Derek Young proposed the jobs initiative, basing it off President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program that provided manual labor jobs related to conservation and development of natural resources during the Great Depression.
“This program serves two purposes,” Young said. “It helps get money into the pockets of families that are struggling right now in this COVID environment, while also providing Pierce County youth the opportunity to connect with future career opportunities.”
With council approval the next step is for Pierce County’s Economic Development Department to execute the contracts with WorkForce Central and local school districts. Information about how to apply will be made available once the contracts are finalized and the program is ready to launch.