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State lawmakers launch employment, job training program for at-risk youth

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Albany/HV: State lawmakers launch employment, job training program for at-risk youth
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State officials are launching a recruitment effort to help young people get training and find jobs, and the program is available to at-risk teens in urban areas including New York City. YNN's Zack Fink filed the following report.

NEW YORK -- While the economic climate may be improving, the unemployment rate remains high for young people in New York City.

The state is making a push to help them find jobs through the New York Youth Works program, created in January.

"More than 120 businesses have joined the program, creating 2,900 full- and part-time job openings for youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods across the state," said Mylan Denerstein, a counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Businesses are being offered tax credits to hire unemployed young people who qualify. Additional state funds are also available to support job training programs.

A participating business gets what amounts to $3,000 as a wage subsidy for six months. Additional tax credits are available as an incentive to keep the new hire on the payroll beyond that.

Lawmakers say the request they hear most often from young constituents is that they need jobs.

"Creating jobs and training our youth has to be a top priority, and the New York Youth Works program has already demonstrated that problem of our youth unemployment," said Queens Assemblywoman Michele Titus.

"As I walk throughout the city of New York, for the most part I see our youth standing on the corners with their hoodies and their pants down below their waits. Quite frankly, it is wasted opportunities and a waste of talent," said Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.

Jajamere Williams, an Iraq War veteran, recently signed up for the program in Albany.

"This is a great program that can change lives and change communities," said Williams.

The New York State Department of Labor determines who is eligible based on income level and other criteria. The goal is to recruit 7,000 young people over the next three weeks.

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