The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program allowed students ages 14 through 18 to work 35 hours a week for eight weeks and earn $8.50 an hour at one of 50 different locations around Rome.
The program, also funded by the Georgia Department of Human Services, is implemented through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and administered by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.
Dwight Henderson, social athletic director and Rome coordinator, has coordinated the program for several years and said there are several assessments in place to make sure the students find a work site that matches their skills.
“They are placed based on their job skill availability and job skill levels by doing an occupational skills assessment at the beginning of the program to determine where the strength of that young person might be placed the best on the work site,” Henderson said. “Most of the time young people will rise to the level of expectations if you continually have high expectations for them, especially knowing that young people will make mistakes then move on and be better and learning from their experiences.”
Deserre Scott, 17, just graduated from Rome High School and plans to attend Gadsden State Community College. She has been working at AutoMax and thinks the program offers a chance to build up a resume while getting some summer cash.
“I enjoy it here. There are lots of phone calls, people come in and pay rent, we just have people coming in and out all day,” Scott said. “They put me here because they think I’m outspoken and that I would do a good job answering telephones.”
Robert Sewell, 18, just graduated from Rome High School and will be majoring in mechanical engineering at Georgia Southern. Sewell was placed at the Rome-Floyd Fire Department training site and helps plug floor plans into a computer program called CAD Zone.
“This program has been good because it’s helping me with my major so it’s right up my alley,” Sewell said. “I’ve liked learning job skills and being able to interact with other people because it can help me out in college and throughout college.”
The program will end on July 30 with an assessment of all the students involved.