Youth and young adults ages 16-24 should apply by April 7Area businesses needed to serve as worksites
The city is now accepting applications from Newport News residents ages 16-24 and from businesses throughout the area for the highly anticipated Summer Training and Enrichment Program (STEP), a component of Building Better Futures, the city’s youth and gang violence prevention initiative. The deadline for young people to apply is Friday, April 7; applications will continue to be accepted from businesses. Businesses and interested participants should complete the application online on the STEP website.
In its fourth year, STEP is seeing a few changes to help with expansion and demand. In previous years, the program focused more on serving youth in the southeast community and Denbigh areas. This year, STEP is open to youth and young adults citywide with plans to continue beyond the summer. STEP continues to partner with area businesses, non-profits, government agencies and faith institutions to offer on-the-job training and mentorship to youth and young adults in Newport News.
“Each year the service area has grown due to a number of requests from young people interested in the STEP because they need job skills,” said Marhonda Echols, youth and gang violence prevention coordinator for Newport News. “After evaluating the needs of participants and worksite partners, STEP is now transitioning to a year-round program to continue to provide much needed employment training to young adults ages 18-24 beyond the summer. We are also streamlining the application process by moving it to our new website for better communication between worksite partners and STEP participants,” Echols said.
A 10-week summer work readiness program, STEP provides paid work experience, field trips, workshops, financial literacy education, and GED preparation classes. Participants are introduced to the world of work and skill training by working up to 30 hours per week at their worksite. Program costs are paid by the City. Participants are paid $7.25 per hour and those who have a high school diploma or GED will receive $8.00 per hour. The program begins June 1st for out of school young adults and June 19th for in school youth.
Organizations who would like to become a worksite can do so at no cost as all program costs are paid for by the City. Businesses have the opportunity to mentor youth and young adults while helping them to harness skills used in various industries. The partnership is open to businesses located throughout the Hampton Roads area. Last year, 75 area businesses and organizations participated in the program.
Businesses and interested participants should complete the application online on the STEP website. Interested participants must have their application completed by Friday, April 7. More information is available online about the STEP program and about Building Better Futures, the City’s broader youth and gang violence prevention initiative.
STEP launched in 2014 serving 160 young people and grew serve over 300 in 2015. Last year, more than 500 youth and young adults participated in STEP with 15 being offered employment at the program’s end. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 757-926-8411.
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