United Way and PA CareerLink Partner to Help Young Adults Gain Workplace Experience
The United Way of Berks County and the Young Adult Program at PA CareerLink® Berks County are partnering to provide employment opportunities for young adults starting in late-July through earlyNovember. Since mid-March 2020, the spreading COVID-19 virus has inflicted serious damage to both the public health and the economic prospects of Berks County residents and employers. “This new partnership between the United Way of Berks County and CareerLink will help create a vital opportunity for our young adults to gain invaluable workplace experience and connect with the larger community, especially during these challenging times,” Berks County Commissioner Michael S. Rivera said. “With so much of the economy in flux right now, finding a job is an even more daunting task than before. I believe the Berks Service Corps is a creative way to help young adults start their careers and aid our local community agencies during this time of need.” Based on experience with previous economic downturns, it is certain that this rapid and severe disruption will disproportionately impact Berks County’s young adults – particularly those who have yet to gain solid footing on a viable career path which matches their interests, talents and preparation.
The Berks Service Corps paid work experience is available to eligible young adults between the ages of 18-24. While most any paid work opportunity might be a “good opportunity” for young adults this summer (and fall), this program provides participants with enhanced learning and community engagement through service learning, leadership and personal development, financial literacy and positive relationships with adult role models in the community. Funding being made available by the Berks County Workforce Development Board; the program seeks to enroll up to 50 participants with placements at local community agencies. “Bringing together community agencies and this target population help fill gaps where volunteers may not be readily available due to the pandemic while giving these young people experiences learning about their community,” says Ashley Chambers, Senior VP of Community Impact at United Way of Berks County. Several agencies have been identified to host most of the participants including Albright College (Census 2020 Complete Count Committee), Centro Hispano, Helping Harvest, and Opportunity House. Placements with community-based non-profit agencies will average between 25-30 hours per week at $9.50 an hour. “With record unemployment due to COVID-19, our young people may have an even more difficult time finding jobs, and, likewise, our community agencies are struggling to find volunteers,” said State Senator Judy Schwank. “I am so glad to see the United Way and CareerLink partner to fill this need.”
Applications are being accepted now through the Young Adult Program at PA CareerLink® Berks County. To make a referral or learn more, please contact Yerli Torres, [email protected] or 484-6503512. PA CareerLink® Berks County is an equal opportunity employer/program.