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Summer jobs program hits goal

Connect2Careers San Diego, a summer employment program created by San Diego Workforce Partnership, reached its goal of helping more than 200 young adults find jobs during the vacation season.

With the help of a $200,000 investment from the city of San Diego, the program provided work readiness training for 661 youths and helped 202 participants find employer-paid summertime jobs, earning an estimated $348,450 in wages, or an average of roughly $1,725 each.

Forty-three employers hired young adults through the program, ranging from members of the San Diego City Council to such businesses as Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), Sudberry Properties, Harmonium, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

Marlene Taylor, president of Taylor Trim & Supply, said the intern she hired through the program "exceeded our expectations" by taking on special projects as well as handling general administrative tasks.

"We plan to be one of the first companies in line to participate in the program next summer,” she said.

Because many young people are still in school or living at home, the jobless rate in the upper teens and early 20s tends to be high even in the best of times.

But joblessness reached historic heights during the Great Recession and has not yet returned to pre-recessionary norms.

Last year, the jobless rate in California averaged nearly 35 percent for 16- to 19-year-olds and 16 percent for 20- to 24-year-olds. In comparison, the average in 2007, before the recession officially began, was 18 percent for 16- to 19-year-olds and 9 percent for 20- to 24-year-olds, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner said CONNECT2Careers "has done a great job providing a way for businesses to give back while helping to train our emerging workforce, which is critical to growing our local economy."

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