(08/28/13) - Funding issues could put a program, designed to keep Saginaw teens off the street and out of trouble, in jeopardy.
The Youth Employment and Recreation Program, also known as 'YEAR,' has been around for two years. It keeps teenagers busy volunteering, working and growing.
YEAR is funded through the Department of Natural Resources, but that money is running out.
A career fair held on the lawn of Saginaw's Mexican American Council is just one example of what the YEAR program brings to the community.
It's no secret Michigan's job market is rocky, and for teenagers age 16-19, it's even tougher. The unemployment rate among that age group is almost triple the state average.
But there are many places still looking to hire.
Employers from across the county are teaching students, if they develop the skills - like math, science, and writing - they'll get jobs.
"It's kind of helping everyone with networking, which I heard was a really big part of getting a job," said Arizsia Staton, participant.
The YEAR program not only helps teens finds jobs, it also encourages them to push past their comfort zones and make positive choices.
"It's helped me develop a sense of responsibility and a go-getter attitude," Staton said.
Staton and 'YEAR' organizers hope the community and state find a way to save the program that makes a big difference in young peoples' lives.
"They need not to give up on Saginaw and on us, because no matter what, if you give up on us or not, it's not like we are going to die off. Either way it goes, we are still going to be here, why don't you make use of us, while you have us," Staton said.
For more information about the YEAR program, click HERE.
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