Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan to spend up to $6.5 million to subsidize jobs for disadvantaged teens year-round.

The county already has a summer jobs program for youth and put nearly 9,500 teens to work in summer jobs last year.

Funding for the year-round jobs program is available through CalWORKS, a state program that offers financial assistance to families with children to help pay for housing, food, clothing, medical care and other expenses.

For $6.5 million, the county could set up jobs for 1,500 CalWORKS teens to work up to eight hours during the school year and as many as 30 hours during the summer, according to board documents.

November state data shows that 16- to 19-year-olds have a 26.6 percent unemployment rate. Teens who lack work experience typically end up in lower- wage jobs as adults.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said she’d like those who proposed the program to look at using some of the money to expand the Parks After Dark program.

That summer parks program extends weekend hours until 10 p.m. and pays for organized sports, free concerts, movies and classes for residents.

It has been credited with significantly cutting violent crime in surrounding neighborhoods. Serious and violent crimes in the communities surrounding the original three parks in the program dropped 40 percent between 2009 and 2012, even as crime increased 5 percent in nearby neighborhoods without the program, according to a city survey.

“It plays a vital role in reducing the likelihood of youth participating in at-risk behaviors,” Solis said.

A report with recommendations is expected in 30 days.

City News Service

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