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Agency to help prepare youth for work

Workforce Investment Act
The Workforce Investment Act Youth Program wants the community to know it is available in Rowan and Cabarrus counties to low-income youth, ages 16-21 who have dropped out of high school and need to obtain their GED, gain work experience to become more marketable for the workforce.
Participants are involved in the community and extracurricular activities on a daily basis along with obtaining their GED. On Nov. 23, the program participated for the first time in the Holiday Caravan Christmas Parade. The parade helped inform citizens of the services the program provides to youth, directly from youth who passed out flyers and rode the float. Team Chevrolet Auto Group, a work site for limited internships and summer youth employment, donated a vehicle for participants to ride in during the parade. Youth program participants expressed their excitement during and after the parade.
The month of November, youth participated in a job shadow with 4-H N.C. Cooperative Extension, learning the skills needed to become an engineer by building wind turbines. Youth tested at Goodwill Connections and Rowan Cabarrus Community College Extension to obtain the Career Readiness Certificate. Twelve youth have completed training with KHR Executives in Wake County. The youth are now Six Sigma Yellow Belt certified. Youth have also attended Workforce Investment Act Job Club workshops on how to prepare themselves for renewable energy jobs, enlightening them about the major shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency that is expected to produce at 4.2 million new jobs over the next three decades. Along with preparing for post-secondary education and the workforce, youth attend sessions with the Barksdale Foundation which help build GED studentsí self-worth and self-regard. Program organizers say these lessons in Cabarrus and Rowan counties have had a lasting impact on student morale and motivation.
Kelli Sheehan a Workforce Investment Act GED graduate, shared her success story at the 47th Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency board meeting. Sheehan spoke of her trials and tribulations with overcoming her fears of success while obtaining her GED and working as an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act participant in the Community Service Block Grant program. During her tenure as participant, she held a position as a nutrition assistant with Head Start while attending Rowan Cabarrus Community College pursuing early childhood and now her current position as an assistant teacher at the Headstart Livingstone Center.
Sheehan is one of many success stories and a product of the Workforce Investment Act youth program. Her successful path is an example of community partnerships and federal monies being put to use so that many can have a slice of their ěAmerican pie.î Enhancing participantsí lives and promoting the opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency is the mission at the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency.
The Workforce Investment Act Youth Program is funded by the Centralina Workforce Development Board. For program information contact Joann Diggs, director, at 704-216-2189.

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