Congressman Jim McGovern at the Worcester Public Library with WIA Summer Jobs participants (Photo courtesy of Mike Reno)

Congressman Jim McGovern saw firsthand how federal stimulus funding is helping young people gain employment experience. On August 4, 2009, he visited the Worcester Public Library where 12 young people are working for the summer doing library tasks such as shelving books, helping patrons access the Internet, clipping newspaper articles for the archives, and much more.

The Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. is the lead agency for the summer jobs program in Central Massachusetts. With federal Workforce Investment Act funding through the Central Mass Regional Employment Board, the agency has been able to recruit over 500 youth, secure 120 employers, and hire temporary staff to run the program within a short timeframe. The youth work 25 hours a week and are paid with stimulus funding.

This is the first time that a federal Summer Jobs program has included not only youth from Worcester and the surrounding communities, but also youth from the Blackstone Valley and South County Corridors. Jill Dagilis, Executive Director of the Worcester Community Action Council, said “We are proud to lead this important stimulus employment program for young people. ”

Lucy Gangone, Head Librarian of the Worcester Public Library, said, “the Library is pleased to participate in the federal summer jobs program for youth. One of the Library’s roles is to assist the community in workforce development, and this program targets an important population group for us–young people. Our patrons directly benefit from the daily assistance the youth provide to the Library by making materials and services available.”

For most of the youth at the library, this is their first job experience. Several participants remarked that they were learning a lot on the job and were enjoying working as a team. A key component of the summer jobs program is the mentoring provided by the onsite supervisor, who not only oversee the youths’ activities, but also help them to develop their professional work skills. Their skills were also improved through a rigorous pre-employment training.