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Wichita-based Youth Employment Project Looking To Increase Participants, Employers

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A Wichita-based employment program that serves young adults wants to expand its outreach through a new marketing campaign.

The Youth Employment Project (YEP) is trying to increase the number of participants as well as the employers that offer those young people their first job experience.

Keith Lawing with Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas says 180 employers are currently engaged with the Youth Employment Project, and he would like to add more.

"We really want to break this down and even get to small businesses that could both certainly use an extra set of hands around their shop, but also help to educate our youth as to other career opportunities that are available in the future," Lawing says.

YEP teaches 14- to 19-year-olds how to create a resume, prepare for a job interview and search for job opportunities. The employers involved in the program hire young adults for part-time jobs or internships.

Lawing says the goal of the new outreach effort is to place 1,000 young people in jobs next year.

Sedgwick County commissioners approved a one-time grant of $25,000 to support the collaborative outreach plan. The City of Wichita is expected to match the county’s funding.

YEP is a collaboration of community partners including the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, the City of Wichita, the Greater Wichita YMCA and 11 school districts across five counties.

The new marketing campaign will raise awareness of the YEP program through outreach sessions at area high schools and community partners.

The 2018 YEP initiative served 1,791 young adults which is a 25 percent increase over 2017. Less than half of the participants were placed in jobs.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.