Summer STEPS program to boost jobs in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

Summer STEPS program to boost jobs in Mississippi

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Summer STEPS program officially kicks off June 1st, 2010 as an extension of the Mississippi STEPS (Subsidized Transitional Employment Program), which is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

The program initially started with a $43 million boost in December 2009 as a way to stimulate the state's economy.

Summer STEPS is designed for 18 to 24 years old who are either a dependent or have a dependent.

A person entering the program, or their family has to make within 250 percent of the federal poverty line. For instance, a family of four could not make more than $55 thousand.

Governor Haley Barbour said Summer STEPS will only help boost the state's economy.

"This is a very good way to go to hire young people for summer jobs. Summer jobs are hard to get right now and this makes it a lot easier," said Barbour.

The program is 100 percent subsidized for those working between 32 and 40 hours per week. Each person going through the program will make $8.63 per hour opposed to the state's minimum wage, which is at $7.92 per hour.

Cheryl Sparkman, from the Department of Human Services, said the goal of Summer STEPS is not only provide temporary work, but to also incentive long-term employment.

"One of our big goals is to get our people educated, get them trained, and get them a job," said Sparkman

DHS and the Department of Employment Security both partner for this program.

MDES has set up a network with Winn Job Centers across the state for people apply for employment through the STEPS program.

STEPS has provided more than 1,200 jobs across the state and more than 1,000 employers have participated in the program.

A person considering work either through the Summer STEPS or the Mississippi STEPS programs could apply for positions in both the private and public sector.

The STEPS program officially expires September 2010.

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