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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Summer work program benefits area youth

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ashley Huth, Felicia Perez and Kayla Hunt assist both the Highland High School counselor and secretary with office work at Highland High School July 23.
Nearly 400 youth in a 10 county area are employed this summer due to increased funding by the American Recover and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Youth Employment Program.

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.

Dillon Bates and Justin Scheel assist with loading a truck with supplies at Highland High School July 23.
Youth who participate in the Summer Youth Program receive training and are employed in both private and public jobs. While the funds through the ARRA are not limited to summer employment, Jackson says the program is encouraged to use as much of the funding as possible during the summer.

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.

Josh Bennett prepares a wall for paint in the hallway at Highland High School July 23.
Several students were working hard at the Highland School District July 23. At the elementary school, Dakota Crider, a Highland High School junior, was helping wax the floors with the custodial department for the upcoming school year. At the high school Dillon Bates, Justin Scheel, Josh Bennet and James McClure were loading paper supplies and getting door frames ready for a fresh coat of paint.

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.

James McClure gets a door frame ready to paint at Highland High School July 23.
Hackney said there is also a worker who has finished college who is helping in the technology department through the program at the administration office.

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.

Dakota Crider takes a break from waxing floors at the Cherokee Elementary School. He is enjoyed through the Summer Youth Program. Photos/Tammy Curtis
She says without the support of the community, the program could not have operated. Those participating and hosting workers at no cost to their organization are, Izard County Consolidated, as well as school districts in Melbourne, Calico Rock, Salem, Mammoth Spring, Highland, Williford, Cave City and Viola. Cities of Oxford, Mammoth Spring, Highland, Hardy, Calico Rock and Horseshoe Bend also have workers.

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.

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