Bakersfield Launches First-of-its-kind Youth Workforce Program


Foundation: Kern Community Foundation

"I wish that in high school somebody had pulled me aside and said, 'Did you know you can get an associate's degree from BC and then get a six-figure job?' I don't think anybody is telling kids that."

So says an assistant city manager in Bakersfield, Calif., where a $5.4 million grant from the state will allow the city to offer internships and other job opportunities to teenagers and college students in an effort to reduce youth unemployment, the Bakersfield Californian reports.

According to data provided by the city, teenagers aged 16 to 19 had a 25.6% unemployment rate in 2020, while the statewide rate was 6.2% and the national rate was 5.4%.

"We want youth to be inspired from Bakersfield to stay in Bakersfield and see themselves in careers and community and public service jobs that pay well, are stable, and come with great benefits," says Anthony Valdez, the city's assistant city manager.

The grant, which will allow the city to hire eight employees to manage the program, was awarded as part of an $185 million effort by the state to provide youth with job opportunities and a path to government service.
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