Governor Lamont Highlights Connecticut Youth Employment Program, Encourages Participation This Summer
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo today visited Ebony Horsewomen Inc. Equestrian and Therapeutic Center in Hartford to highlight one of the many employers participating in the Connecticut Youth Employment Program and to encourage young adults to enroll in the program, particularly as schools dismiss for the summer months.
Administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor in partnership with the state’s five Workforce Development Boards, the Connecticut Youth Employment Program runs year-round and connects young people ages 14 to 24 with meaningful jobs that help them build professional networks, improve career readiness, and earn a paycheck. It is particularly focused on youths who are disconnected, marginalized, and underserved, and provides support services intended to break down some of the barriers that can keep young workers out of the job market, such as covering expenses for transportation, uniforms, and other job-related costs.
Participating workers’ salaries are covered by the state so employers do not bear payroll costs. The employers have an opportunity to train their workforce, helping them develop the skills needed to maintain successful careers.
“The Youth Employment Program is a strong workforce development initiative at a time when Connecticut employers need more workers,” Governor Lamont said. “With more than 100,000 jobs currently available in Connecticut, it’s the right time to make this investment in our future workforce and for the state’s business community. I applaud Commissioner Bartolomeo and the Connecticut Department of Labor, our workforce investment boards, and especially Patricia Kelly and the staff at Ebony Horsewomen for highlighting the importance of these youth initiatives.”
“Youth Employment is a win-win. It helps young people gain important work experience and helps employers build their future workforce,” Commissioner Bartolomeo said. “Currently, Connecticut’s unemployment rate is a very low 3.8% – investment in our young people is not only a smart thing to do, it’s a vital component of a strong and robust statewide economy. Governor Lamont has been a tireless advocate of the program and we thank him for his commitment to workforce development and to Connecticut’s young people.”
The Ebony Horsewomen Inc. Equestrian and Therapeutic Center has been hiring young adults through the program for the last eight years. Located in Hartford’s Keney Park, the nonprofit organization provides equine-assisted therapy and trains mental health professionals through certification and continuing education courses. They use 25 miles of trails in Keney Park, have stables, indoor and outdoor riding rings, and jumping and dressage training.
“Nearly 40 years ago, I established Ebony Horsewomen to ensure that more young people had the transformative experience of working with horses,” Patricia E. Kelly, a former U.S. Marine and founder, president, and CEO of Ebony Horsewomen said. “The Youth Employment Program has allowed us to be part of bringing up a new generation of workers and cultivate a deeper investment in the community we serve. We are grateful for the support of Governor Lamont, the legislature, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and our workforce partners.”
In 2022, 500 employers participated in the program and it served 2,570 young people, 94% of whom were in high school, 2% in college, and 4% not in school.
Employers interested in participating and youths who want to enroll should contact their local Workforce Development Board for details. Information can be found on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website at www.ctdol.state.ct.us/gendocs/youth.html.