UCHRA to receive $2.4 million in summer youth and adult training


COOKEVILLE-The federal economic stimulus package will provide about $2.4 million to the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) for the purpose of providing services to youth, adults, and dislocated workers, UCHRA officials announced last week. 

“According to the analysis of unemployment numbers across the nation, youth and young adults are among the hardest hit,” said Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA executive director.  

“Youth needing work will be receiving pay checks, works sites for these youth such as units of local government, school systems and other local entities will get much needed help.  The Agency welcomes the opportunity to help the residents of the Upper Cumberland as they are faced with and work through a most difficult economic time, a win/win for the area,” said Bennett. 

The application process for the summer youth program in the 12-county area  will begin April 16.   

“Services made available through the Economic Stimulus Package will bring relief to the current economic crunch for the residents of our county,” said Clay County mayor Dale Reagan. “I encourage interested individuals to contact their Clay County UCHRA office located at 500 Dow Avenue in Celina – (931) 243-3674 or the Upper Cumberland Career Center located at 3300 Williams Enterprise Drive in Cookeville – (931) 520-8733.”

The UCHRA’s $1.2 million summer youth program will serve approximately 710 people, ages 14 through 24, with the activities beginning in late May and going through July.  The agency is projecting that approximately 280 of the participants will be involved in classroom activities, such as science and technology.    

“The summer youth program will provide an opportunity to make money to buy clothes and school supplies and/or receive training.  Becoming a part of the workforce will allow the participants to learn good work ethics.  Our communities will benefit from the youth having spending monies which will stimulate the local economy,” Bennett said.

UCHRA is working with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to develop the implementation plans for the workforce programs in the economic stimulus package.  In addition to the $1.2 million summer youth program, the agency will be getting about $480,000 for additional services for adults in job training programs, and $684,000 for services for dislocated workers.  Monies for adult and dislocated workers will be used to provide training, targeting unemployed and individuals that have lost their jobs due to plant closures or layoffs.

“In the past, funding was available for the Summer Youth Employment Program, which was a successful and popular program in all of the counties,” said Pat Callahan, UCHRA employment and training director.  “The Human Resource Agency is fortunate that funding has been restored to offer these programs and to have experienced staff that has been involved in planning and administering the program.  Based on past experience in youth programs, it is apparent that programs of this nature make a difference in the lives of participants.”

At a recent meeting of the board of directors of the UCHRA, board chairman Mike Foster said, “the economic stimulus package will give the counties immediate assistance as well as make a difference for years to come.  Youth, adults, and dislocated workers will receive services that will improve their chances for employment and financial assistance.”