Columbus pumps up jobs program

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — The city is partnering with the Mississippi Department of Transportation in a 10-week program of paid summer jobs for young people.

The Commercial Dispatch reports the City Council voted to appropriate $20,000 to match the state’s $35,000 grant for the Urban Youth Corps summer program. The amount was twice the requested total.

The extra money, suggested by Councilman Kabir Karriem, will allow more young people to participate, said Travis Jones, director of federal programs for the city.

Applications will be available at area high schools and colleges, and interested students ages 16-25 can get information from school guidance counselors.

The 20-hour per week, minimum-wage jobs will be Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to noon. Work will begin June 3 and end in early August.

More than 300 young people are expected to apply for the 30 openings. They will have to interview for the positions, just as they would for any job. The process includes drug screening.

Their work will include planting trees, landscaping, litter control and graffiti removal around Columbus.

The program also includes a life skills class in which participants learn about job interviews, work dress codes, civic involvement and financial responsibility. Students who do well are given positive work references they can carry to their next job.