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Youth Opportunity Center and Workforce Development Announce New Partnership

Thursday, May 15, 2008

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MUNCIE, IN - Veteran Muncie Community Schools administrator and educator Don Holderman Thursday was introduced as the new youth career consultant at the Youth Opportunity Center and will staff a WorkOne office dedicated exclusively to offering programs and services to youth placed in YOC programs, including YOC residents. Holderman and the WorkOne office will operate on the YOC campus on Kilgore Avenue, and the program is expected to be up and running in early August.

Through an unique partnership arrangement orchestrated through months of discussions, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is funding Holderm's state position and will bring the department's programs and services to court-ordered youth placed at YOC. It is the first of its kind in the state and will serve as a pilot project for job training aimed at at-risk youth.

The program announcement took place Thursday afternoon at the YOC. On hand were Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, Workforce Commissioner Teresa Voors, Deputy Commissioner Dale Wengler, and Jim Riggle, chairperson of the Eastern Indiana Regional Workforce Board.

"This is my 10th visit to Delaware County since becoming lieutenant governor," Skillman told the audience assembled in the YOC gymnasium. "I can't overstate the importance of the work that you do for the children served. You literally save lives."

The state's economic health is the Daniels Administration's top priority, according to Skillman. "Since taking office, more than 65,000 new jobs have been created in Indiana. We want every Hoosier to have a good- paying job."

She noted that the greatest employment decline within the state is among those 25 years of age or less. "There are many workers retiring from jobs that need to be filled. We want to provide the skills to young people to be successful. They must have skills and a work ethic to succeed. Don't underestimate the importance of our investment in young people."

Commissioner Voors noted that on a previous visit to the YOC, she met with several YOC Youth and questioned them about their career plans. "Some of the kids didn't know, and some didn't know how to get there. It was at that point that I realized this was the only piece YOC wasn't offering - Workforce Development."

Wengler said every person has the right to "know his skills, gain new skills, and find a job. This economy is not about job security but skills security," he stated. Wengler pointed out that more than 1,000 young people are finding help at the Youth Opportunity Center each year.

"When we meet in the future, we will not just look at the numbers but we will hear the success stories," Riggle stated. "We are touching people and making a difference. This program is not owned by any one individual or organization, but we are connected to each other. We exist for one and only one purpose, and that is to provide career development opportunities to youth. We collectively are investing our time, resources and talent in this partnership with the hope that by providing these resources and skills to our youth today, their tomorrow will be brighter."

Other speakers at the Thursday YOC-Workforce event were Rick Rowray, CEO of the Youth

Opportunity Center; Sasha Dykes-Wilson, a former YOC resident and current Ball State University student, and Jeff Parsons, chairperson of the YOC Board of Directors.

For more information contact:
Nancy Dailey, Director of Advancement
Youth Opportunity Center
3700 W. Kilgore Ave.
Muncie, IN 47304
Phone: 765/289-5437, ext. 5501