Workforce Alliance looks to increase youth employment


Do you remember your first job? Whether it was a great experience or not, it helped set a foundation for your professional career.

The Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas is looking to give the same opportunity to youth in the area.

The organization is beginning a new marketing campaign for its Youth Employment Project (YEP), an employment program for 16-19 year olds. The program provides assistance in creating resumes, job searches and preparing for interviews.

Keith Lawing, CEO of the Workforce Alliance, said there will be an extra push to get 1,000 young people hired in 2019.

“We’re working with a number of organizations — USD 259, Greater Wichita YMCA, the City of Wichita and others — to help us do that,” he said.

The organization also wants to see local businesses join the effort. Companies such as Textron Aviation, Spirit Aerosystems and the Wichita Business Journal are already involved with the project.

“Ideally we’re trying to find positions that young people are interested into as a career opportunity and giving the idea to test that out,” said Lawing.

Lawing added that studies show fewer young people are getting jobs in high school for a number of reasons. He hopes YEP exposes the youth to the several career opportunities in Wichita.

“The goal is to maybe get a few of them to say ‘Yeah, I can make a living in Wichita and I want to stay here in Wichita,'” Lawing explained.

Sedgwick County commissioners are on board. The commission awarded the organization a $25,000 grant to help the marketing campaign. The City of Wichita plans to match it sometime in the future.

“Those dollars will really help us do this marketing push,” said Lawing. “We are going to do a lot of social media. We are probably going to hire two youth ambassadors to go out and meet with some of the schools, the classrooms and some of the students in the classrooms.”

The 2018 YEP served 1,400 young people, with half of them finding their first job or internship.

For more information about the 2019 YEP, visit

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