Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

Contact Leo Rosales Cell: 518-281-6167 Office: 518-457-5519 Email:
Labor Department Combating Skyrocketing Unemployment Among Capital Region Youth

Albany, NY (March 18, 2010) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. Unemployment among young people has reached crisis levels in this recession. On Thursday, Commissioner Colleen Gardner of the State Department of Labor came to the Albany Elks Lodge to showcase a local program that is doing something about the problem.

 "Unemployment among young people has skyrocketed in this recession, both nationally and in the Capital Region," said Commissioner Gardner.  "Nationally, some estimates place the youth unemployment rate at over 21 percent. Locally, analysis of recent Census data shows that nearly 20 percent of young people in the Capital Region may be unemployed."

"That means that nearly one in five young people are unemployed. Study after study has shown that the number one predictor of future success in the workplace is early exposure to work experience. These statistics show that all-too-many young people aren't getting that early foundation for workplace success."

The Elks Lodge is participating in a job training program run by the Culinary Tech Center in Albany. The Center received a grant of $221,000 from the Department of Labor last fall to train 20 young adults for jobs in the restaurant industry. The grant was part of $5 million distributed by the Labor Department statewide under its Disconnected Youth grant program. The $5 million came from federal stimulus funds authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Christy Jerome, Program Director at the Culinary Tech Center, said, "This collaboration between the Department of Labor and the Culinary Tech Center provides students with an opportunity to transition from training to a career in the food service industry."

The Culinary Tech Center offers young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 a four-month, five-hours-per day, five-days per week training program. It is aimed at young adults with educational deficiencies and other barriers to employment, such as substance abuse or homelessness.

Participants learn everything from cooking techniques to menu planning, as well as basic work skills such as the importance of coming to work on time and getting along with co-workers. Job placement services will also be offered.

The grant process was highly competitive. The Department of Labor received 80 applications, of which only 24 were accepted. Originally, $2.5 million was available, but this was expanded to $5 million. Statewide, more than 1,700 young people will benefit from this grant program.

Currently, the Culinary Tech Center is running two classes: one in the morning and another in the afternoon. A new class will begin in late March, and there are openings. To find out more, call Mrs. Christy Jerome at the Culinary Tech Center at (518) 438-1126.


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