Missoula program picking up stimulus money


Thanks to federal stimulus money being provided to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, over 700 youths across Montana, including approximately 100 youths in Missoula and surrounding counties, will now have work experience and job preparedness training this summer.

"It's great to see our stimulus dollars at work helping teach 21st Century job skills to those who face challenges and typically feel they have nowhere to turn." Commissioner Keith Kelly, Department of Labor and Industry said.  "No one should fall through the cracks during these tough economic times, especially our young people."

The addition of approximately $300,900 federal stimulus dollars in the Missoula area will be used to revitalize the area's Summer Youth Employment Program. The statewide program hasn't even existed in most areas for nearly a decade.

"This is exciting. We haven't had a summer jobs' program here in about 10 years." said Maggie Driscoll of the Missoula Human Resource Development Council.  "This is a great opportunity for young people who wouldn't otherwise be able to find work."

The summer jobs range from non-profit and city-county conservation projects to jobs in school districts, health facilities and mechanic shops, as well as business and retail positions.

Those eligible for the program must be from a low-income home and between the ages of 14 to 24 years old. The participants must also meet certain barriers to employment, which could include: school dropout, foster child, pregnant or parenting, or have disabilities. 

The Summer Youth Employment Program is being funded with more than $2 million federal stimulus dollars for all 56 counties in Montana.