Budget gridlock puts summer job program in New Haven on hold

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NEW HAVEN -- As the state continues to try to balance the budget before the end of the fiscal year on Friday, having no budget could mean hundreds of kids in our state could be out of jobs as cuts to the Connecticut Summer Youth Employment Program are considered.

Workforce Alliance in New Haven is one of the five development boards that coordinates youth employment the cities and towns all across the state.

More than 400 kids in New Haven alone are in limbo as they wait to hear if they can start work next week, as the program, which is already facing cuts would receive no state aid if a budget isn't worked out.

According to the Hartford Courant, a possibility is Governor Dannel Malloy's mini-budget they keep the state running on a short-term basis. This proposal would mean $3.5 million for the summer youth employment program, which is a drop from the 5.2 million a year ago.

The program consists of kids ranging in age from 14 to 21 years old that are placed in a variety of public and private sector jobs. Their work was set to begin after the July 4 holiday and run through the end of August.

The jobs pay minimum wage and kids can work 15 hours a week. Program eligibility is based on household income and other factors.

The program helps guide children toward careers and keep them off the streets.

Workforce Alliance president and CEO William Villano said the earlier you get kids into the workforce, the less likely they will have unemployment in their lives, they're more likely to make more money and they're less likely to have incarceration.

Villano said there isn't a downside to the program, it's all positive.