TANF summer program helping low-income youth find summer employment

By Austin Schmidt - [email protected]

CAMDEN — The Preble County TANF Summer Youth Employment Program provided at least 12 young adults and youth summer employment opportunities through a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Camp located in Camden.

The program helps young adults who are living with a low-income family currently receiving OWF, food assistance or has a family income of less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, find summer employment.

Employers, like the Boy Scout Camp of America, who participated in the program May 1, 2014 through Oct. 31, 2014 received 100 percent reimbursement for employee wages and fringe benefits for up to $10 a hour.

Nancy Wheeler who was the Council Program Director for the Boy Scouts of America Miami Valley Council said the partnership has been very positive for their summer employment.

“It was very successful for us, we have a lot of staffing needs we seemed to be having a hard time filling,” she said. “It was a perfect win-win situation for the youth in Preble County, and us.”

According to Wheeler the camp offered several different types of employment including youth working on the ranger crew, working in food service, in the office, and in the trading post as the youth gained experience in a variety of fields.

Wheeler also noted, each year a youth is involved with the program the camp gives them more responsibility if they return the following year. This year a local 20-year-old from Camden, Austin Blevins, became a mentor for the program.

Blevins started out in the program several years ago when he was 16 years old and a junior in high school, working through the program until he was 18. Blevins then returned to the camp this year to be a mentor for the younger TANF youth.

Blevins said the experience the program has given him as been great for his future.

“It was interesting because it was my first experience as a supervisor,” he said. “I feel like it gave me a good experience as to what I will be going into in the future.”

Blevins is now in his second year at Ohio State, where he is pursuing a degree in finance. He said he’s not sure if he will return to the camp next summer as he plans to pursue an internship in the finance field, but noted the work experience gained from the program will stay with him moving into his career.

Wheeler said employers shouldn’t be afraid to hire those coming from local assistance programs like the TANF summer employment program.

“You will surprise by the quality of people who qualify for these programs,” she said. “These were good kids, kids who had plans to go to college who were raising money for their own college.”

Wheeler said the program is a great opportunity for employers like the Boys Scouts of America, who have a need for short term summer employees.

More information about the program can be found at ohiomeansjobs.com and at the Preble County Job and Family Services Center.

By Austin Schmidt

[email protected]

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.