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$1.5 million awarded to address youth employment, domestic violence

Jackson County Combat award
Posted at 6:02 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 19:47:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County officials are hoping to prevent crime by awarding money to organizations dealing with domestic violence and youth employment.

Officials announced a $1.5 million award Wednesday through COMBAT, which is the county's drug and violence prevention program.

Money that goes to youth employment programs will focus on at-risk youth and provide them with a stipend through the employment during the summer.

"It’s wonderful to give youth something to do during the summer, but it’s also really wonderful to give them an opportunity to earn money, to actually earn their own money, and it builds more self-esteem," said Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor.

One of the programs that will benefit is Working for Youth. The organization and partner programs provide employment to people ages 14 through 18.

“I really see this as really planting a seed for that workforce we want tomorrow, but also really being just an option and a barrier for some of the violence we’re seeing on our streets," said William Dowdell.

Dowdell is with KC Social Innovation Center, an organization that works with nonprofits to make jobs available for young people.

He said efforts to help steer youth away from negative choices and toward positive options like a job or internship program offers hope for their future and the community.

“I see it as one of many variables that will help in not only decreasing the violence, but also opening up opportunity," Dowdell said.