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Newton youth gain experience and a paycheck
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Nia Wellman, a recent graduate of Alcovy High School, spent five weeks this summer discovering the responsibilities and benefits that come with being employed. This opportunity was made possible by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) In-School Youth Program. Nia worked as an office aide at the City of Porterdale, giving her experience in interacting with the public and co-workers. She developed valuable organizational skills, a general knowledge of office procedures, as well as an understanding of what it means to be employed.

The WIOA program, administered by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission under the oversight of the Northeast Georgia Workforce Investment Board, includes youth in a twelve county area in Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, and Walton Counties. To qualify, these youth must meet income eligibility requirements and have at least one other barrier. Throughout the twelve county area, 138 youth worked at local government worksites, non-profit agencies, and some private sector businesses this summer. The youth worked up to five weeks and up to 30 hours per week. They were paid minimum wage through the WIOA. The program, administered by ACTION, Inc., continues throughout the school year where the students work with case managers who ensure they are on track in school with grades, attendance, and behavior. The youth also attend workshops that help them with money management, leadership, work skills, and career pathways.

With Georgia having one of the highest teen unemployment rates in the country, the experience these youth gained would likely have not been possible without the WIOA Program. Nia and the other youth who participated in the WIOA Summer Youth Work Experience developed practical skills that will benefit the students and their communities in the future.

For further information on WIOA services for youth, adult, or dislocated workers, please contact the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission’s Workforce Development division at (706) 369-5703.