Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced job training effort preparing young workers

The City of Merced and Merced County Department of Workforce Investment have partnered to create Merced Youth Jobs, a program designed to connect young people ages 16 to 24 residing in the City of Merced to part-time employment opportunities.

This program, designed to serve 160 young people for a period of 24 months, evolved through the advocacy of local youth organizations and community members and is funded by $1 million from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding by the City of Merced.

“At City Council’s direction, this $1 million investment is creating job placements that allow participants to learn necessary competencies employers are looking for in their employees,” said City Manager Stephanie Dietz. “This program is set up to provide opportunities to young people in a variety of different fields and professions, from custom woodworking, retail sales, culinary arts, and hospitality, to name a few.”

The program was developed through a series of design sessions led by local youth and facilitated by the Merced County Department of Workforce Investment (DWI). Local businesses participating in the program will gain an employee for up to 200 hours. The employee will be paid bi-weekly through the County’s payroll services and covered by the program’s Workers’ Compensation. Employers are responsible for General Liability Insurance.

“Evidence shows that surrounding young people with adults invested in their success has long-term benefits,” stated Erick Serrato, executive director of Merced County Workforce Development Board. “Businesses participating in this program are offering young people an incredible opportunity to work in a professional environment to which our community’s youth might not otherwise have access. Our goal is to change a young person’s life, which will have a lasting impact on the health of our young people and our community at large.”


About DWI

DWI is the department within the County that manages workforce programs, including the Worknet Centers and the Empower program. The department is overseen by the Merced County Workforce Development Board, a federally recognized workforce agency serving the residents and businesses of Merced County. To learn more, visit online at:

To learn more about the Youth Jobs Training Program, visit online at


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