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SummerWorks2009, a Kentuckiana Works initiative that is a federally funded stimulus program, provided temporary employment for 521 young people throughout the state – including 49 from Shelby County.
In addition to employment, the program, funded by $1.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also provided work readiness skills to young adults age 16-24 in Bullitt, Jefferson and Shelby counties.
Those skills included financial literacy, time management, functioning in a team environment, performing effective customer service, reporting to a supervisory staff, understanding personal accountability and responsibility and maintaining honesty and integrity.
Kentuckiana Works is Greater Louisville's workforce investment board and serves the seven-county region surrounding Louisville. The organization also oversees the region's system of One Stop Career Centers, at which job seekers can find jobs, education and training opportunities, as well as apply for unemployment insurance.
These centers also help employers meet their workforce needs by linking them with qualified employees.
Michael Gritton, executive director of Kentuckiana Works, Greater Louisville's Workforce Investment Board, said, "SummerWorks 2009 helped jump start the region's economy by pumping one point four million dollars into the economy through valuable work opportunities for people who otherwise may not have earned a paycheck this summer.
“What's more, young people also earned valuable work experience that will make them more marketable in the workforce and employers who may have not been able to hire summer workers had much needed help," he said.
John Cox, who owned the 6th and Main Coffee Shop in Shelbyville at the time the program was ongoing, said that SummerWorks helped him out a lot.
"It was a great program," he said. "It allowed us to train a couple of employees and didn't cost us anything."
Those employees, Kassie Chandler and Connor Powell, were paid through the program.
"The program allowed us to train them for free and at the end of the summer we were allowed to decide whether or not we wanted them to stay on, and as far as I know, they are both still there," he said.
Powell and Chandler are in fact still employed at the coffee shop.
Powell said he was really glad he participated in the program.
"It worked out great," he said. "This is the best job I've ever had."