VIDEO: State Promotes Youth Works Initiative

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There are more jobs than young people signed up to fill them through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Youth Works initiative, which now offers 10,668 positions at participating businesses statewide, Gannett’s Jessica Bakeman reports.

Nearly 4,500 slots are still open, officials announced Friday.

The Youth Works program includes $25 million in tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed and at-risk youth and $62 million to support job training programs.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said he hopes not only to reach at-risk youth who would qualify for the program but also to recruit more businesses to take advantage of the tax credit.

“You can’t expect young people to make good choices if you don’t give them good choices,” Duffy said at a Capitol news conference. “They want to work. They want jobs.”

A similar initiative, the Summer Jobs program, aims to help unemployed young people earn paying jobs and learn life and work skills.

Currently, New York businesses have offered 10,668 full- and part-time jobs opportunities, and 6,221 young people have signed on, state officials said.

Participating businesses are offered up to a $3,000 tax credit to subsidize wages when they immediately put inner-city youth in the state’s metro areas to work for six months. Employers are eligible for another $1,000 credit if they retain those youth employees for an additional half-year.

“It’s a big investment in young people and shows great community service,” Duffy said.

In its second year, the Summer Jobs program helped more than 11,000 teens work in summer 2011 and will employ 18,000 in 2012.

The program’s $25 million allocation, a 61 percent increase from last year’s funding, has been distributed among the state’s 57 counties and the five in New York City.

Eligible participants are between the ages of 14 and 20 and can either be recipients of public assistance or have a family income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, for a family of three, that would be $37,060.

Funds subsidize wages and support education and training services.

“There is no doubt these programs will help young people get ready for jobs, get prepared for the work place … and hopefully find something they are very passionate about that turns into a long-term career for them,” Duffy said.

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