Many things have changed for Cintia Diaz since she made the decision to enroll in the Grundy-Kendall Regional Office of Education Youth Employment Program. She has currently attained her GED certificate and works at a Rehab and Care facility in Yorkville. The young teen suggested to others that if they don’t have their GED yet, they should get involved in the program to get help with continuing their education. Already in its fourth year, the free program helps youth from ages 16 to 21 to pass their GED exam and find a job.
Funding by the River Valley Workforce Investment Board, the program provides some opportunities for subsidized employment. This is where the wages are paid for by the program while the participants are trained and then supervised at local businesses in the area. According to the program coordinator, the youth unemployment rate is around three times the amount of the national unemployment rate. The program’s goal is to help youths who are becoming frustrated with not being able to find a job locally. A vocational coach from the program suggested that having programs like this is extremely important because it can help young people to overcome the challenges associated with trying to find employment.
The coordinator and coach work very closely with the applicants to get to know their weaknesses, strengths, and backgrounds. They work with the youth on the basis of test preparation and interview skills, and far beyond. The goal is to help them to be able to gain employment in the area. Some of the youth need help with searching for jobs and creating their resumes. Other youths may need help with learning how to make a good impression during a job interview. Some work on their social skills and improving their ability to seem more employable. This can include having basic math skills or just being able to arrive to work on time.
In Cintia Diaz’ case, this meant gaining one-on-one tutoring before she took her GED exams. When she had passed all of the tests, she received her GED, which completely changed her life. Being able to attain her GED allowed her to be eligible for entry level jobs in her area, which allowed her to have a salary to support herself. Having a GED can make youth more marketable, because it provides more opportunities for them. Most jobs require a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a GED. During March, the program helped to set up Diaz with subsidized employment at Hillside Rehab and Care. She was able to provide service so well at her job as a housekeeper there, she was hired by the facility in June.
This is just an example of what can happen when youth get involved with GED and educational enrichment programs. If you or someone you know could benefit from earning their GED and continuing with their education, consider searching for a program like this in your area to further expand available employment options.