“We are helping young people who are facing major challenges – the homeless, teen parents, high school dropouts. We are providing them with opportunities to make their way in the world,” says Cuesta College’s Youth Programs Supervisor Jennifer Kirn.

For the past two years, Cuesta College has run the Youth One-Stop in Grover Beach, a satellite of San Luis Obispo County’s Business and Career One-Stop Centers. Kirn is responsible for the academic and career-oriented programs offered to disadvantaged county youth who are between the ages of 16 and 24-years-old. The Youth One-Stop, which is funded through the youth portion of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), provides a multitude of free services, including local job searches, resume building workshops and even interview clothing to the young adults it services. The center also facilitates other youth programs including Successful Launch, which is funded through the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63).

According to Kirn, for the first time, a portion of the Prop 63 monies was recently used to subsidize the employment of 19 young adults from Atascadero to Nipomo. These young adults range in age from 16-22-years-old and have little to no work experience. They have been placed to work at five separate Miner’s Ace Hardware locations; Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Nipomo, San Luis Obispo and Los Osos. The young adults began working on June 3rd and will work 20-30 hours per week in most areas of the stores. They will gain invaluable employment experience for four weeks, all because of a partnership between the Youth One-Stop and Miner’s Ace Hardware that was sought out by Kirn.

“I feel fortunate to have found a creative way to use the Prop 63 money, to partner with a local business, and to give these young people an experience that will help them become contributing members of society,” said Kirn.

Miner’s Ace Hardware is equally pleased with the joint venture.

“One of our core values is to give back to the community, and this partnership supports that value,” said Miner’s Ace Hardware’s Director of Human Resources Sara Kennedy. “These young adults have been amazing; eager, excited to work, arriving on time and happy to be there. We are proud of how quickly they are learning and thrilled to be their first work experience.”

Several resources for young people facing significant challenges are available at the Youth One-Stop, including the John Muir Charter School, the Workforce Investment Act Youth Employment Program, and the Successful Launch Program. For more information, please call (805) 574-1520 for services. The center is located at 191 South Oak Park Boulevard, #9, Grover Beach.

Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / Lauren_milbourne@cuesta.edu / Posted: 6/20/13