Summer Jobs: GRCF helps youth find that first job | Community Spirit
by J. Bennett Rylah
The Summer Youth Employment program goes far beyond the summer, says Marcia Rapp, Grand Rapids Community Foundation's VP of Programs. Not only has the W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided the program with a $900,000 grant -- enough to fund the program for two consecutive summers -- but the benefits extend long after summer has come to a close.
The program launched in 2011 with the intention of helping the youth, aged 14-24, in underserved neighborhoods find and maintain jobs. The need for this program stems from high unemployment rates. Rapp says some neighborhoods have unemployment rates for adults as high as 30 percent. When adults who have lost employment are competing for the entry level jobs usually held by teens and college students, it's harder for younger applicants to find work. GRCF helps by allocating the grant money to participating organizations, enabling them to take on this sector of the workforce and provide them with valuable job experience. This year, GRCF has selected 12 nonprofit organizations including the City of Grand Rapids, Jubilee Jobs, Kids Food Basket, Steepletown...