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Federal stimulus money comes to Carbon County

Sun Advocate writer

Of the $53 billion in government stimulus money that has been spent in 2009, at least $96,000 of the federal revenues have come to the Carbon County area in the form of a new work study program for young people.

The program has been set up by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in order to help participants ages 18 to 24 find careers they are interested in, as well as build job skills with local businesses and government agencies.

"The money comes from the federal stimulus program and will last until September, but it's still up in the air as to whether or not it will be extended," said Jeff Olinger at the department of workforce services in Price.

In order to benefit more than just the people who are hired, the program was offered to a variety of local organizations.

The program pays 80 percent of the participants' starting wages up to $6,000 until it ends in September.

As of June 1, the positions that were available in the Carbon County area are being filled.

According to Olinger, 35 people applied, but only 16 positions were available to qualified individuals.

The state of Utah based the number of positions on the area's population, unemployment rate and overall need, said Olinger.

In order to qualify participants had to be of low income status, have sub-par educational and/or employment histories as well as display other issues such as substance abuse.

And while not everyone participating in the program has all of the problems, it is intended to help discourage the difficulties in question through teaching not only sound job skills, but job keeping skills.

"It basically gives them (participants) a look into the world they are wanting to participate in," said Janet Cross at the Castle County Care Center in Price.

The program is in its infancy. Therefore, it is still early to report on many details about the program's success or failure rates.

But according to Olinger, things have, for the most part, been going smoothly aside from a few " bumps."

"If we have any issues, we have a team meeting and try to resolve any problems," said Olinger. "We try to match the youth to jobs they are interested in."

To date, the only significant problem Olinger reported involved an individual who was positioned at a dentist's office. The individual discovered that he/she really could not take the sight of blood, or the pain some experienced by the clientele.

"It's a great program and we're hoping they will extend it," said Olinger.

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