Sunday, January 23, 2000

Hamilton Co. may hire CCY to give training

Older people would learn job skills

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Citizens Committee on Youth is about to go countywide.

        CCY is an organization contracted by the city to provide a variety of services for troubled young people ages 14-21. Services include job training and placement, help obtaining GEDs and college placement.

        But the organization is negotiating with Hamilton County, which would like CCY to help it give job training to older people who are in danger of losing benefits under welfare reform.

        “With this expansion, we would be increasing the age upward in terms of the folks we're able to serve,” said Clarence Williams III, president and chief executive officer of CCY.

        “CCY has long been responsible for placing kids who have problems and who may present difficulty” in job placement, Mr. Williams said.

        Cincinnati City Councilman Paul Booth, former chairman of CCY's board of directors, said the money the city spends on CCY is an investment for city taxpayers. CCY is able to address a wide range of needs for young people, he said.

        “It's an organization that enhances the quality of life for our young people,” Mr. Booth said. “The kids they assist have socioeconomic needs, and the programs they have are wide-ranging and successful.”

        Those programs are growing, too.

        This year, CCY will begin offering year-round employment internship and education opportunities, including computer training, clerical training, employment skills training for young fathers and mothers and expanded job placements.

        In the past, those programs have been conducted in the summer only.

        Mr. Williams said the result should be about 3,000 more young people served by the organization — from 7,000 last year to a goal of 10,000 this year.

        “This was necessary to meet the needs of our young people,” Mr. Williams said. “It will enable us to expose them to a greater variety of work experience and learning.”

        CCY got its start 42 years ago as an intervention program for young offenders who were entering the juvenile justice system, and that tradition has been carried on.

        Last year, CCY advocates handled more than 4,500 cases through its Juvenile Court Liaison Program, where a CCY social worker is allowed to hear minor cases involving delinquency.

        “We can be very creative in our remedies,” Mr. Williams said. “We help divert and relieve some of the stress on the courts hearing these minor cases, and it's natural referral source for our agencies.”

        The agency came under fire several years ago.

        The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in 1997 that several board members had conducted business with CCY. An internal audit confirmed problems with operations at CCY, and ordered a ban on commercial business between the organization and its board members.


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