By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – As more coronavirus cancellations are announced, the list of summer job opportunities for teenagers gets shorter and shorter. Denver Economic Development & Opportunity hopes to provide teens and young adults with virtual job training and a $1,000 paycheck.

In past Summers, DEDO would provide young adults with 120 hours of paid work experience at participating employers. Due to COVID-19, DEDO decided not to coordinate their usual in-person work experiences. Rather than cancel the program, Denver Workforce Services plans to offer 60 hours of paid, virtual workplace learning.

“The first 40 hours will consist of job readiness training. The next 20 hours will be more of a self-guided industry focused career exploration module that youth will go through,” said Tony Anderson, Director of Workforce Services at Denver Economic Development & Opportunity.

(credit: CBS)

The proposed 2020 Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program will use the Google Digital Skills Curriculum to provide training for 350 low-income, Denver residents between the ages of 14-24. Each participant will earn $1,000 for completing the course.

“This was our opportunity to check the two main boxes: serve the number of youth we did in the past and get dollars in their hands,” said Anderson. Savings from DEDO’s non-traditional summer program allows them to provide $1,000 for all 350 participants.

The curriculum would be available via mobile and smart devices. Denver Public Schools will issue laptops to participants who need them. Like an in-person job, participants must do the work and complete the program in order to receive a “paycheck.”

“This is something we can track. We can look and if they completed the first half, we can pay the stipend and we can verify they gained these skills by the quizzes at the end,” explained Anderson.

The money will be paid through two stipends, $500 for completion of the first 40 hours, and $500 for completion of the final 20 hours.

The program still needs to be approved by Denver City Council in June. If approved, DEDO will be releasing the application in the following weeks.

The program is available to low-income Denver residents between the ages of 14-24. DEDO will select participants based on a lottery system. If approved, the goal is to have the course up and running in July.

Tori Mason

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