5:41am

Tue January 31, 2012
Business and the Economy

KentuckianaWorks Asks for Donations

KentuckianaWorks is trying to raise at least another $200,000 for its SummerWorks program, which creates jobs for young people in the region. “Last year we put more than 200 young people to work. There were more than 30 public and private employers involved with this as well. So this year we want to take it even higher,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.

Through the program, participants help with public works projects and occasionally work for nonprofits in the region. In recent years, the program has seen a drop in federal funding and an increase in demand for summer jobs.

Fischer, who was joined by Congressman John Yarmuth, D-3, asked for support for the project from the private sector.

“Anybody who would like to write a check from the private community can help us create more job opportunities for young people this summer,” said Fischer. “A check for $2,500 helps create a position for one person for the summer and obviously a larger check helps even more kids,” he said.

KentuckianaWorks has so far raised around $300,000, which would help place nearly 120 young people in jobs, said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks.

But fundraising is not finished and Gritton plans on meeting with potential donors in the near future, he said.

KentuckianaWorks is also holding its seventh annual Youth Opportunity Showcase on Feb. 18. The showcase is a chance for young adults ages 16-21 to meet face to face with potential employers. Any employee looking for new hires is encouraged to apply for a booth at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville free of charge.

Last year, of the nearly 2,000 young adults that attended the showcase, half found some work, said Gritton.

But the recession has made it difficult and major opportunities like Kentucky Kingdom, which previously provided hundreds of jobs to young adults, have since closed their doors.

Gritton said there are new opportunities this year with large-name businesses like Zappos and Geek Squad.

KentuckianaWorks will also offer free help with resumes and job interview training this year.