By KRISTEN WRIGHT
Special to the Sun-Gazette
The Lycoming County CareerLink is helping area youth obtain jobs through it's GET2WORK program. The program assists the youth from ages 17-21 with obtaining their GED, getting into college, join the military or find a job in the community. The program also assists them in supportive services, like obtaining a drivers license.
Isaac Wagner was able to find work as a handyman, at the Antioch Church in Williamsport, for his paid work experience component, in CareerLink’s GET2WORK program.
Tyler Furman found work at the SPCA doing janitorial, landscaping and cleaning clean kennels.
Some of the people in the program have a GED or high school diploma, and some do not. The program is there to assist participants in whatever goals the person desires to obtain.
When somebody is interested in getting involved in the GET2WORK program, they will go to CareerLink, 329 Pine St., and meet Elizabeth Marshall, CareerLink's out of school workforce specialist. From there they will fill out an interest form and sit down with Marshall to gain an understanding of the program.
If that person decides to enroll in the program, Marshall will ask them about their life values and work values to gain a background knowledge on them. They will then fill out an interest inventory, and participate in mock interviews and applications to prepare them for the job hunting process.
The paid work experience component is a huge part of the program, Marshall said. Participants are able to work for local organizations, mostly non-profits, for minimum wage, $7.25 per hour. Marshall will set up the interviews and escort the participant to the interview.
Once the interview is completed, the organization will contact Marshall to let her know whether or not they would like to hire the participant. If they are hired, they will work for that organization for eight weeks and work 30 hours per week. During that time the organization will fill out evaluations, so the participant is able to see their progress.
After three to four weeks working for the organization, Marshall will look for part-time or permanent work for the participant. In some cases the organization will hire the them full-time.
"We try to have them in and out of the program in six months, but that does not work for everyone," Marshall said. "Some are faster and some are slower, it just depends on what their needs are."
The program always is looking for more employers who will allow participants to work for them through the program, according to Courtney Hamm, supervisor for the program.
Many participants have benefited from the program, including Tyler Furman, who heard about the program through his probation officer, when he was having trouble finding a job. He went to CareerLink and enrolled in the program about five months ago, and was able to get a job at the local SPCA. Through his experience in the program he said he learned a lot about responsibility.
Isaac Wagner had a lot of spare time when he enrolled in the program four months ago. He said that he was taking GED classes, which were for four hours a day, and he had a lot of spare time and wanted to find a job. His parents advised him to go to CareerLink to see if that would help. He enrolled in the program and is now working for the Antioch Church as a handyman, and also has been able to get GED tutoring at the same time.
"It has been great so far," Wagner said.
For more information on the program, contact Marshall at 570-259-4576, or email emar firstname.lastname@example.org.