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Worcester Announces $1.5M ARPA Funds Allocation for Youth Employment

For Immediate Release: 6/20/2024 11:43 am

WORCESTER, Mass. – City Manager Eric D. Batista announced Thursday the allocation of $1.5M American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to fund youth employment opportunities in the city.

Due to unexpected cuts to the state-funded summer youth employment program YouthWorks, there was an anticipated 70% budget reduction impacting summer 2024 opportunities for youth in Worcester and Southern Worcester County. The cut would eliminate roughly more than 600 opportunities for youth aged 16-22 and curb the hiring ability of nearly 100 employer partners in the region.

As a result, City Manager Batista has allocated ARPA funds to help close the gap in youth employment funding in the Worcester community, which includes staffing for Recreation Worcester in FY25.

“The City of Worcester is proud to dedicate ARPA funds toward youth employment opportunities,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista. “It is critical our youth have strong community ties and the opportunity to gain workforce experience, especially during the summer months.”

“We are grateful for the City Manager and City of Worcester’s investment in youth and young adults,” said Boys & Girls Club of Worcester CEO Liz Hamilton. “A summer job through YouthWorks makes a big impact for the kids we serve at the Boys & Girls Club. This workforce development program helps kids gain strong social and employment skills, introduces them to new experiences, provides them with a safe and mentoring environment, and keeps them engaged during the critical summertime months. Studies have shown that youth employment in the summer creates a healthy and vital community with economic growth and a decrease in violence and risky behavior.”

“The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce commends the Manager for the funding of YouthWorks, a program essential to the growth and development of our future workforce,” said Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Timothy Murray. “By providing young residents with valuable work experience and professional development opportunities, YouthWorks helps to cultivate the skills and confidence necessary for success in today's competitive job market. Investing in our youth today ensures a stronger, more capable workforce for tomorrow, benefiting our entire community.”

“This funding is a game changer for our city’s youth this summer, and for nearly 100 sites across the city where youth will be employed in childcare, biotech, healthcare, summer camps and many more sectors,” said Worcester Community Action Council Chief Executive Officer Marybeth Campbell. “WCAC is thankful that the City Manager knows firsthand the value that early employment experiences create for our youth and appreciative that he is committing these funds to help more than 600 youth gain new skills in the workplace.”

“We at the United Way of Central Massachusetts have long been a supporter of youth employment. We recognize and understand that for many, this is truly the beginning of personal workforce development. The skills learned will carry through so many of these new employees’ careers,” said United Way of Central Massachusetts President & CEO Tim Garvin. “Further, the summer YouthWorks program not only teaches the skills of being a valuable employee, these ‘new employees’ also fill critically important positions in so many of our youth development partner agencies. We are deeply proud of the City Manager and the City of Worcester; bravo and thank you.”

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