June 10, 2012 | last updated June 10, 2012 6:37 am

Briefing: Youth Employment

Jeff Turgeon, executive director of the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, explains the mission of the Job1 Youth Employment Coalition at a ceremony last week honoring three Central Massachusetts employers.

Three Central Massachusetts employers were honored last week by the Job1 Youth Employment Coalition for their work in helping young people gain workforce experience. Lampin Corp. of Uxbridge, Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Worcester and Imperial Distributors of Auburn were recognized at the inaugural Growing & Readying Our Workforce Awards, as well as eight other nominees.

What is the Job1 Youth Employment Coalition?

It's a partnership of area schools, colleges and youth employment programs such as the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation, Colleges of Worcester Consortium, United Way and Worcester Community Action Council Inc., working to connect employers and youth. It was created by the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board (CMWIB), which serves 38 communities in the region.

Why was the coalition created?

According to the coalition, teen employment rates have fallen to their lowest level since the 1940s, with 28.6 percent having jobs last summer nationally and employers reporting a lack of workforce readiness in younger workers. That amount has fallen more than 40 percent since 2000. The coalition wants to help give young people workplace-based, hands-on experience to help build a strong local economy.

How is the coalition doing this?

A goal of the initiative is to increase the number of businesses that hire a youth directly, host a student intern or help by donating money to support youth placements. It's working to build support for youth employment among politicians and the public.

What can employers do to get involved?

Jeff Turgeon, executive director of CMWIB, said it's in businesses' interest to help the coalition understand what businesses need to improve the youth workforce. Job1 suggests employers help youths by offering internships and training programs, providing job-shadowing opportunities, facility tours and jobs. To that end, it will host a job fair at Worcester's Union Station on Friday, June 15 for people ages 16 to 24.

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