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Federal Stimulus Lets Teen Experience MD Harley Plant

Tue, 08/25/2009 - 4:51am

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Bill Hope loves motorcycles.

The 17-year-old got to work on them all summer at Harley-Davidson in Annapolis thanks to a federal stimulus program.

Hope was one of 70 young people recruited for an Anne Arundel County summer employment program supported by stimulus dollars. "Youth Works" is the first county program of its kind in eight years.

"The whole point of this is to give kids work-readiness skills and we're very happy with the outcome of this program so far," said Kirkland Murray, president and chief executive officer of Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp., which funded and organized the roughly six-week program.

Workforce development officials spent $170,618 of stimulus money to support the recruitment and salaries of 70 people ages 14 to 23.

Murray said his agency spent $93,618 on salaries of participants who worked 35 hours a week and were paid between $7.25 and $9 an hour.

He said another $77,000 went to support the salaries of a program director, as well as two staff members who recruited students and 32 job sites, including Anne Arundel Medical Center, Maryland Therapeutic Riding, the city and county Police Departments, and the Joy in Learning Child Care Centers.

One of the recruits who recently finished the program was Nick Parrish, 17, a soon-to-be junior at Old Mill High School.

Parrish said he enjoyed working at World Gym in Glen Burnie — while getting in shape for a future career goal: "I want to be a cop when I grow up," he said.

In the meantime, Nick impressed the World Gym staff.

"He was a great worker, we really enjoyed his company," said Stefanie Lyle, a manager at World Gym.

Nick was an accountable worker who went "above and beyond," Lyle said. "Now that he's left, everyone misses Nick. He loved to make smoothies."

Anne Arundel Workforce Development roughly doubled its federal allocation this year when it received $719,000 in federal stimulus funds. The dollars are being used to launch new outreach efforts and employment assistance to the jobless.

Most of the federal money allocated to help youth find jobs was spent on the employment program. But $23,265 of it also supported the agency's administrative costs and other workforce-development programs, including the county's one-stop employment centers, Murray said.

About $35,000 of stimulus money will support the youth program next year, he said, adding that he hopes Congress will provide even more federal dollars for it next year.

This year's program seems to be making an impact.

Timothy Trochimowicz, wash/bay supervisor at Harley-Davidson, said Bill Hope worked at the Annapolis bike business last year but was let go when the part-time staff was eliminated.

Hope didn't take the job very seriously then, something he expected of someone Hope's age, Trochimowicz said.

But this summer, Trochimowicz said he was impressed with Hope's performance.

"Before he needed a lot of supervision," Trochimowicz said. "Now I can trust him to do a lot more of that on his own and use my time on doing other things."

Hope said he plans to attend Anne Arundel Community College. Then it's off to tech school to gain skills for working on motorcycles, he said.

One day, he said he hopes to return to Harley-Davidson in Annapolis.

"I love working here," he said.

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