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Kansas City-area program connects youth to jobs and opportunity

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 19:14:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Young people in Kansas City are finding opportunities in the workforce through organizations like Working For Youth.

17-year-old Jordan Ashley landed his internship through Hire KC. Hire KC is one of three program partners under Working for Youth.

Ashley works as a social media intern for Creative Emajinations, a group focused on performing arts education for youth.

“It allows me something else to focus on and something to take my time up that I know is important, so I’m not [saying] 'let me go out and run the streets and do this and the third,'" Ashley said. "It’s like ok, I got to be home because I’ve got to work tomorrow morning."

Ophelia Brinkley is the founder of Creative Emajinations, where Ashley works.

“I always imagined being able to provide these opportunities for youth like [Ashley] and so to have it is like, to become a reality, it’s really amazing.”

aSteam Village is another local organization that hired interns through Working For Youth.

The nonprofit educates youth on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Jye Scott is one of the interns who mentors the organization's young students. Scott recently graduated high school and is getting ready to attend Fisk University.

"Inspiring some of the students is good. We really hope that a lot of the students pursue their dreams," Scott said.

aSteam Village founder William Wells said the youth employment program provides a pipeline for a new generation of workers, but also addresses question about their future.

"Am I able to participate in the economy? If I can participate in the economy and I have a path forward like Jye who’s going to college, her decision-making process is totally different than somebody that can’t participate in the economy," Wells said.