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Grant expands youth summer jobs program to nonprofits

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More young people are getting summer jobs at nonprofit organizations, thanks in part to a grant from Bank of America.

One of the groups expanding its services thanks to eager young workers is Connecting For Good.

The nonprofit helps people find success in today's digital world by teaching skills to master the internet and offering affordable computers.

A $55,000 grant is allowing the agency to hire two summer interns for five weeks, working with teachers as coaches to refine professional and project based tech skills that will transform them into desirable employees.

Nationally, the mayor says Kansas City has the 12th largest population of children under 18 on a per capita basis, and more are recognizing the need to help those kids successfully make their way into the workforce.

"If you pay attention to the level of violence in this country and in this city, the one thing we don’t need is kids sitting around with idle time on their hands," said Mayor Sly James. "We need them learning how to become skilled workers, how to work in conjunction with others in a workplace."

Interns who are part of the summer program say real world opportunities aren't easy to come by.

Employers are reluctant to take a chance on kids who lack work experience and they hope to develop 21st century skills that will ready them for the workplace of the future.

"I went through a lot of phone calls and emails having to always call back and leave your messages," said Breauna Roberson, 18, an intern at Connecting For Good. "Always reaching out. People like that I learned. People like when you reach out to them, constantly."

The metro area has more than 30,000 young people between 16 and 24 who are not working or enrolled in school. The mayor believes the region's future depends on the success of that group.

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