The funds from AARA are added to North Arkansas Development Council funding of the Workforce Investment Act. Executive Director of NADC, Larry Goodwin, says he is, "Elated to have ARRA funds to expand service in North Central Arkansas while playing a role in America's economic recovery through AARA."
Workforce Investment Act Program Director Connie Jackson says the Recovery Act was intended to preserve and create new jobs, promote economic recovery and assist those who have been impacted by the recession.
Because of the increased age limit from 19-24, college age students may also take advantage of the program.
Jackson said the majority of the youth are working with city or county government and in school systems, but some are in private businesses.
In the office at Highland High school, Kayla Hale and Felicia Perez who were assisting secretary Glenda Hackney and the high school counselor with answering the phone, making copies and stocking supplies. Hackney said "We so appreciate having their help." The girls are also working on a Power Point presentation for the beginning of school and will be making photo identification cards as well as working with the counselor.
Also working in the office was Ashley Huth, who said she has worked for the program before. Huth is a senior at Williams Baptist College. Huth said she is using the funds to help pay for college.
Highland School superintendent Ronnie Brogdon said the school system was fortunate enough to get an employee from the program in the central office that is scanning permanent records to a digital format, a process which will save space and give the school back-up files in the event of a natural disaster. He said because of the additional employees, the school district was able to do some things they normally would not have got to do, "It has been a great help for us this summer and we are so glad to have them." Custodial Supervisor Ashton Hester agreed, "They are good workers."
Jackson said there are 40 youth employed in Izard County, 45 in Sharp County and 25 in Fulton County.
Other employees work at NADC, Sharp County Road Department, Community Medical Center, Melbourne Insurance, North Arkansas Veterinary Clinic, North Central Arkansas Education Cooperative, Ozarka, Farmer's Insurance, Pioneer Nursing and Rehabilitation, Fulton County Hospital, Senior Centers, Clerk's Office, Fitness Center, Therapy Works, Tri-County Recycling, Spring River Animal Services and Promise Electronics.