A not-for-profit group is seeking government support for the continuation and scale-up of a youth employment program in the Illawarra.
Community Resources CEO Jess Moore and Green Connect general manager Kylie Flament have approached state and federal MPs regarding a funded program they believe can be used as a blueprint for other parts of the country.
They say while the federal government has extended JobKeeper and other stimulus measures beyond September, there remains an urgent need for new and innovative ways to create jobs.
Community Resources is a national not-for-profit that specialises in social enterprise.
They support and employ people at high risk of unemployment, seeking to build their skills, experience and confidence.
As part of their work, through NSW Government funding under the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge, their social enterprise Green Connect engages the "most disengaged and disadvantaged young people in the Illawarra".
"We provide support, training and work experience, and we help move these young people into paid employment within the business and then on to mainstream employment, providing further support as they navigate the demands of the Australian workplace," Ms Moore said.
"A year-and-a-half after the program started, within the Illawarra 97 young people have been engaged in work experience and of those, 48 have commenced paid work, 24 have transitioned to long-term employment, and seven have already completed six months in employment."
Among those they have contacted regarding potential funding is Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash.
Ms Moore said given the success of the program in the Illawarra, they need government funding to provide the additional support that those who experience barriers to employment will often need.
With their Illawarra youth employment program due to end in December, organisers are asking the federal government to commit to funding the ongoing delivery of the youth employment program; fund them to extend the program to other cohorts in the Illawarra; and fund them to extend the program to other locations.
A spokesman for the Minister said Green Connect is currently funded by the NSW Government.
"The Department of Education, Skills and Employment delivers programs and services to support young Australians and help them to move from welfare to work," the spokesman said.
"In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian Government has acted swiftly and decisively to provide unprecedented economic support for workers, households and businesses, including young Australians, of around $289 billion or the equivalent of 14.6 per cent of GDP.
"The number one thing that the government can do for young people is to keep the economy as strong as possible and support job creation.
"The government is investing $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to retraining and upskilling in sectors with job opportunities, as the economy recovers from COVID-19.
"It includes the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, jointly funded with the states and territories, to provide up to an additional 340,700 training places to help school leavers and job seekers access short and long courses."
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