The past year for Amber Moody has been filled with change.
The 21-year old nursing student just had a baby daughter, moved back home to St. Louis and found a job that could be the key to her dream career.
“I am really concerned about the future. I want to make sure I have everything that I want,” she said.
Since January, Moody has worked in the Emergency Department at SSM DePaul Health Center. There, she helps enter patient information into the computer system, check their vitals and transports them to their rooms.
She secured the position while still in school, through a new STL Youth Jobs initiative called “Ferguson Forward.”
It’s estimated that 40,000 young people in the St. Louis region are not in school and not working. Experts say the youth unemployment rate and the skills gap mean a shortage of skilled workers now and in the future.
STL Youth Jobs is in its third year of trying to meet that challenge head on. With more applicants that it can handle, the program is a a collaboration of St. Louis city and county, the state of Missouri, local companies, and private donors. STL Youth Jobs pairs 16 to 24 year olds with a job coach and an employer who teach marketable job skills. More than 115 local companies are providing eight week summer jobs to young people.
Teens growing up in poverty have to deal with poor academic achievement, violence and much more.
A new initiative by MERS/Goodwill and Emerson works to show them that a tough upbringing doesn’t have to mean a hard life. They’re helping kids in troubled neighborhoods find jobs.
“I basically do everything for my kids,” said program participant Kaylia Hamilton.
Kaylia is a participant in the STL Youth Jobs Initiative Program. The program helps teens from troubled communities receive job training and job placement.