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Summer Success: Hamilton County Awarded $800k for Youth Employment

The long days of summer are in full swing. School is out, and along with cookouts and fireworks, another American tradition takes place – the summer job.

While teen summer employment was on a decline through the onset of COVID-19, a recent study reveals it is back on the rise. Hamilton County officials are leveraging this opportunity to set teens up for success while connecting employers to an untapped talent market.

A Hamilton County Commission meeting unanimously voted to accept nearly $800,000 from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development – funding local efforts to increase youth employment and talent attraction.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), Workforce Services Division, is supporting local efforts to increase youth employment and educational attainment through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).  

The grant approval allowed Hamilton County to move into Phase II of the SYEP through their Summer Success: Hamilton County Summer Youth Employment Program.  

“Across the country, summer youth employment opportunities have proven effective in both preparing students with important career skills and contributing to crime reduction,” County Mayor Weston Wamp says.

“In addition to dozens of work opportunities and paid internships across local government, we’re grateful that several prominent local businesses have partnered with us to provide local youth with invaluable work and life lessons.”

SYEP offers paid employment opportunities to youth paired with valuable first-hand work experience and educational learning. SYEP is a Tennessee effort with a statewide goal of putting 3,750 youth to work by August 2024

Overseen by the Hamilton County Mayor’s Office, Summer Success offers youth employment opportunities with City of Chattanooga and local businesses – providing comprehensive job training and support throughout the employment term.

At the commission meeting, Mayor Wamp reported that 80 youth are signed up to work from July 1 and through the program’s completion on August 31.

These partnerships between government officials, engaged citizens, and local businesses align with the future envisioned in Velocity 2040, our Chattanooga Chamber’s collaborative vision for Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

“Mayor Wamp’s keen focus on growing a skilled workforce in Hamilton County lays the foundation for future economic development success in our community. This grant is a great example of his efforts to continue growing our community and it gives employers the chance to see firsthand how much high school students can contribute to the workforce right now,” Christina Henderson, talent development director, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce says.

“The Chattanooga Chamber will continue to champion local employers participating in summer internship programs and the work of Mayor Wamp and his team to prepare Hamilton County students for careers in our thriving economy.”

Learn more about Hamilton County Mayors Office initiatives, here.

Learn more about Velocity 2040, here.

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