County officials, city leaders, youth members, their families, friends and community representatives gathered in Lompoc and Santa Maria this week to mark the one-year milestone for the Santa Barbara County Youth Corps program.
The anniversary will be capped next week with one more event from 11 a.m. to Noon, Thursday, October 14, at the Archway of the County’s Historic Courthouse, adjacent to the Sunken Garden, 1100 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara.
This week’s successful celebrations occurred at the Santa Barbara County Youth Corps’ North County Headquarters in Santa Maria at Preisker Park, 330 Hidden Pines Way, and the Mid-County Headquarters in Lompoc near the Old Lompoc Theater on H Street at Ocean Avenue. The events were co-hosted by the Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and the program contract provider, the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County (CAC).
“We’ve seen some amazing changes in these young men and women as they have developed both professionally and personally during the past year,” said Carolyn Contreras, CAC Director of Children and Family Services. “They are taking control of their lives with positive choices by participating in community service work, education, jobs training, personal accountability and self-respect, all the things that come with having a job, gaining valuable work experience and expanding life skills and experiences.”
The CAC began offering the Santa Barbara County Youth Corps program about one year ago under a two-year, $1.1 million partnership with the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Barbara County.
“We’re very proud of these young people for their accomplishments and contributions to improving the quality of life in Santa Barbara County,” said Raymond L. McDonald, WIB Executive Director. “We have high hopes for even more to come during year two.”
Currently, about 80 young people ages 14 to 21 are employed throughout the County under the Youth Corps program. During the past year, they have logged nearly 30,000 hours of work. During the second year, program officials hope to increase the Youth Corps ranks to about 125.
The Youth Corps program has three crews—based on Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara—with training and experience in green construction, trail building, habitat conservation, green landscaping and many other important job skills
The Workforce Investment Board, is dedicated to serving the workforce needs of businesses, adults, laid-off workers and youth throughout Santa Barbara County. The WIB is a public/private partnership created by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and is staffed by the County of Santa Barbara.
Job seekers and employers can take advantage of free services at two Workforce Resource Centers (“One-Stops”) to help find work or new employees. Programs include employment services for job seekers, the latest labor market information and regional workforce research for businesses, as well as training that specialize in helping people gain the skills and confidence necessary to find and obtain a job. The One-Stop Shops are at 1410 S. Broadway in Santa Maria, (805) 614-1550, and 130 E. Ortega Street in Santa Barbara, (805) 568-1296. Online information is available .
The Community Action Commission, 5638 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117, is a non-profit social service agency serving Santa Barbara County since 1967, providing a variety of services to approximately 10,000 low-income individuals and families throughout the County. For more information, go online or call (805) 964-8857.