Your tax dollars put teens to work in Montgomery County

Alexis Anderson, 18, works at Ritter's Frozen Custard in Kettering as part of the Montgomery County Youth Works Program

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Since it started 16 years ago, the Summer Youth Works Program has employed more than 18,000 teens in Montgomery County.

A record 2,000 teens were selected to take part in this year’s Montgomery County Summer Youth Works Program.

18-year-old Alexis Anderson is one of them.

Alexis is a senior at Ponitz Career Technology Center but she’s also taking classes at Sinclair Community College.

She’s working at Ritter’s Frozen Custard in Kettering.

“At first, I was like, no, no, I don’t want to do it and then once I started doing it and you know that there’s different job opportunities, it’s not just one job.  I really had opportunities and choices to pick from,” says Alexis.

Owner Don Heyne has been training teens like Alexis for the past 5 years.

“I try to teach a lot of them what waste and cost and all that is but I’ve told her even more.  You know, as far as what things cost.  At the end of the program, we hope some of them are interested and many of them have taken on jobs after the program,” comments Heyne.

Nearly 300 other employers are also involved with the program this year.

And, there’s no cost them, the county picks up the paychecks.

This year, county officials tell us they will invest over $2.5 million in wages directly for youth employment.

“One of the first things we hear from employers in our community is  that adults come to them not job ready.  They don’t have the soft skills that they need.  They’re just not polished enough.  So, if we can start that pipeline earlier, at 14 which is our age group, then it obviously gives them a leg up,” explains Montgomery County Special Projects and Youth Services Coordinator Rocky Rockhold.

Alexis plans to continue working here after graduation next month.

She encourages other teens to apply for the program.

“I would say, take this program serious, if you do get in it because it will really help you out,” says Alexis.

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