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Training for workplace


Teen program seeks renewal for 2010


December 22, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Most people know the unemployment rate is much higher than usual right now.

But this economy has especially hit younger workers harder than average. Youths age 16-19 currently have a 23 percent unemployment rate, more than twice that of older workers and 5 points higher than in November 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last summer, Community Connections and the Center of Hope tried a tag-team approach to the problem by creating a teen jobs program. It went so well they're seeking grant funding to do it again next year.

"I think they have a lot of skills," said Connections Director Lynne Simonds. "They just need on the job experience and to be in a place to use what they know and to be able to ask when they don't know."

Typically, she said, teens need to learn better time management skills (especially in their free time), conflict resolution, budgeting and banking skills, how to handle confidentiality issues and how to "adapt to the sites they were in" as far as clothing went. Those who participated this summer and fall "always had the potential to be on time, and they were on time," doing good work when it was expected of them, she said.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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