City, school and business leaders on Monday announced the formation of a new youth-oriented task force whose first project will be a federally funded job training and employment program for teen-agers.
The Glendale Youth Coalition will be made up of representatives from the city, the Glendale Unified School District, a business group called Glendale Partners and local teen-agers. The group, whose focus will be to support opportunities and activities for young people, is not scheduled to hold its first formal meeting until October, but plans are already under way for a “one-stop job center” that will refer teen-agers to job openings with various local employers.
“The idea is to get all types of businesses involved, so the youth can get some real experience at something other than just McDonald’s and Burger King,” said Jack Quinn, a founding member of the coalition.
The nonprofit Verdugo Private Industry Council has offered to put up $80,000 in federal job-training funds to hire two full-time staffers to get the job center up and running for one year, and proponents hope the project can become self-sufficient or obtain new grants in the future. There are also plans to create a database with up-to-date job listings that would be accessible via computer terminals at each local high school.
The job center and other programs in the works were spurred by the Glendale Youth Summit, a meeting held in January where teen-agers from across Glendale met with city leaders to discuss the types of programs and activities needed to keep young people off the streets. Even though Glendale has a relatively low crime rate, teen-agers who participated in the meeting said even good kids need supervision during their free time to help them stay out of trouble.
Two students who helped found the youth coalition, Glendale High School senior Annie Johand recent Hoover High graduate Julie Malouf, said they have seen fights on campus and they think young people need and want organized sports and other activities. They said they know of youths who have been in more violent incidents, stabbings and shootings, elsewhere in the city.
“The situation has gotten worse,” Joh said. “It gets worse every year, because people fail to listen to what the youths’ needs are and to do something about it. That’s why we’re putting this together.”
In addition to the job bank, the youth coalition is putting together a comprehensive list of 202 services available to youths from 78 local organizations, ranging from crisis hot lines to holiday classes to parenting classes for teen mothers.
City Councilwoman Eileen Givens said the youth coalition will be an informal group open to all volunteers, rather than a city-operated body.