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Federal Stimulus Money Spurs on Summer Jobs Program

June 8, 2009

Danville, Va. - The lazy days of summer just got a whole lot busier for many young people in Virginia. An influx of more than $600,000 federal stimulus dollars will fund a summer youth job training program in the state's largest county.

Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders says the Pittsylvania County program will focus on younger workers, ages 14 to 24. He notes that their wages probably won't just be extra pocket money - because, for many young people, the pay they receive will be a key part of their family's budget.

"Many parents who had jobs have lost them, either through closing and/or relocation of companies; therefore, they do not have the income to support their families."

There are more than 1500 applications for the program's 267 slots, he says. A town of about 45,000, Danville's unemployment rate mirrors the rest of the state at about 12 percent, double what it was at this time last year. The training, adds Saunders, will also give many young people a second shot at career success.

"For example, they could be a high school dropout; they could have had some other kind of problem that had prevented them from staying in school, or going back to school. This is pretty much a second chance to get them back into the mainstream."

Saunders says he hopes to expand the program later this year. More information about the program is available on the City of Danville's Web site, www.danville-va.gov.

Aries Keck, Public News Service - VA