Peoria Public Schools receives grant for youth investment programs

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria Public Schools program that gives students a chance to get hands on workforce experience is getting some extra funding from the state.

Tuesday afternoon, school district leaders announced a grant worth $669,552 for the Illinois Youth Investment Program (IYIP). This grant supports what the district is already doing through the Lights On Peoria grant and also expand opportunities for other students.

The program allows Peoria Public Schools to partner with local businesses and provide internships to students that lead to full-time employment upon graduation. The IYIP grant gives students employer-paid and non-employer-paid internships and allows them to see the benefit of a paycheck.

With this funding, 142 youth will be served in four different grant categories which include summer and long-term employment.

The four categories of the grant are:

  • Category 1: Short term, summer employment; this category will focus on students getting employed in autobody, construction, culinary and other categories during the summer for 71 students.
  • Category 2: Targeted long-term employment; this will focus on students who are trying to find their career path and focus on the long-term, sustained employment. It will primarily partner with autobody and healthcare fields. Students will work up to nine months of employment.
  • Category 3: Career development-industry-linked long term employment; This focuses on industry-linked credentials, certifications or licenses. It will primarily focus in on the construction and culinary fields..
  • Category 4:Expansion of industry-linked career development opportunities; This focuses on industry-specific credentials. It will focus mainly on IT-Coding and dual credit offerings.

State representative Jehan Gordon-Booth helped obtain the funding for Peoria students and said many times students don’t know of the programs.

“If students knew there was a pathway for them, if they saw the opportunity for success at the end of that coursework, they are much more likely to stay with that coursework,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gordon-Booth said Peoria is a different place than when she grew up and wants to give students an opportunity to stay out of trouble.

“Peoria has to be a place of opportunity for them and families have to see that opportunity for them in this community,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gordon-Booth said businesses will also benefit from this program as students will obtain CPR certifications and other certificates they need for employment and will be ready to work.

“This critical investment is going to be a win-win for the young people of our community, but also the businesses in our community,” Gordon-Booth said. “I am just very proud to be working with amazing educators that are always putting children first.”

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