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Youth Employment Program Kick Off in Southwest

A new employment program in Southwest aims to help 17 to 25-year-old dropouts receive GEDs and job training.

Southwest YES program Kick-off event, Evansville

Photo: Sara Huelsman

Jim Thomas, representative of German American Bank, one of the three sponsors, is speaking on the kick-off event of Youth Employment Service.

A new Southwest Indiana program targets high school dropouts to help them earn a diploma and train for jobs.

The Youth Employment Services (YES) program helps 17 to 25-year-olds get a diploma. The Southwest Indiana program, which covers Spencer, Perry and other 7 counties, will coach participants on resume writing, interviewing, and providing financial aid for transportation and childcare.

Indiana State Board of Education member Jim Edwards says the program addresses a nationwide problem.

“Dropout is a serious, serious problem. Not only in Indiana, but nationwide. It really really is. We have an average 30 percent dropout rate nationwide. At this point and history, it is totally unacceptable,” he says.

WorkOne Southwest Indiana Executive Director Jim Heck says dropouts cannot obtain good-paying jobs or further their education.

“They might be able to get a job if they don’t have their GEDs. But it is not gonna be a job that can help them raise the family and be out on their own,” Heck says. “To get a job like that, they’re gonna need their high school diploma and other training or other post-secondary training in order to do that.”

The program is sponsored by Vectren Corporation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana and German American financial company. Program data will be shared between these corporations and Heck says those who complete the program will be given hiring preference at the companies.

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