Board to Consider Establishing Temporary Job Training, Placement Program

Ceci Partridge

(CNS) – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is slated Tuesday to approve $4 million for a jobs program intended to help low-income residents who have been financially impacted by the government public health shutdowns necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Hewitt jointly proposed the “Pathways to Employment” program, which relies on the county’s Community Action Partnership for implementation.

“Pathways to Employment will target adults ages 18 and over … by providing job training designed to lift participants out of poverty toward self- sufficiency,” according to a statement posted to the Board of Supervisors’ policy agenda. “Participants will be provided employment opportunities where they will receive a living wage stipend and be provided job training and mentoring opportunities, helping them acquire sought-after job skills and experience necessary to succeed in today’s changing work environment.”

The specified goal of the program is to extend aid to residents on the lower rungs of the economic ladder who have been left unemployed or under- employed because of the shutdowns.

Like the Riverside County Youth Community Corps program approved earlier this month, Pathways to Employment would offer slots to 100 residents in each supervisorial district, for a total of 500 positions.

The program would feature a split-tier system, with 300 individuals offered an opportunity for eight weeks of training and temporary placement working with nonprofits or government agencies, while another 200 individuals will be offered a 12-week rotation.

The eight-week commitment would pay $5,120 per individual, and the 12- week commitment would pay $7,680. The base hourly rate in both instances would be $20.

“It is expected that Pathways to Employment participants will improve their chances of long-term career success by participating in this program benefiting Riverside County residents, nonprofits and government entities for years to come,” according to the supervisors who are proposing it.

There was no specific description of the mentoring and job training opportunities that would be arranged by CAP. However, the new program would create temporary 32-hour-a-week job placement for county reserve and volunteer firefighters who are able to work in the public safety sphere, according to the supervisors.

“CAP will partner with community-based organizations and government entities that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and provide staffing resources to help them continue to deliver vital services,” their statement said.

On Aug. 4, the board created the Youth Community Corps, dedicating $2 million from a $431 million allotment to the county under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act to support the corps. Pathways to Employment would also rely on the CARES money.

The corps is providing temporary job opportunities and internships to 500 minors countywide.

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