Boccieri Voices Support For Maintaining Summer Youth Jobs Program
State has reallocated funding for a program employing over 200 Mahoning youths

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today voiced his support for maintaining the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Summer Youth Employment Program, an initiative that provides paid work experience to over 200 Mahoning Valley youths each summer. Governor Kasich has reallocated the $45 million program budget for a new Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP), which does not offer paid jobs but instead focuses on general case management of youths to promote eventual employment. CCMEP also only accepts participants over 16 years of age, denying 14- and 15-year olds eligibility they had under the old program.

“If we’re serious about strengthening our workforce, we should not be taking away critical opportunities for young people to get early exposure to the workforce and develop their skills,” Rep. Boccieri said. “Some of these kids will be left with nothing to do next summer, when they could be gaining work experience and making an income.”

In previous years, Mahoning County saw an average of over 200 youths participate in the TANF program at around 100 different worksites, including the street department, parks and recreation, the engineer’s office and dog warden’s office.

Rep. Boccieri also noted that cash-strapped counties are ill-equipped to sponsor the programs themselves.

“With the way the Republican legislature has slashed local government funds, our counties certainly can’t finance these important programs with their own funds. We need the state to continue to support these summer jobs.”

The new program combines TANF funds with money from the Workforce innovation and Opportunity Act to support year-long case management services. It’s budgeted at about $100 million a year. 

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