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Low-Income Kansas City Teens Benefit From State Summer Jobs Program

Ke’shauna Spratt was one of more than 1,300 young Kansas Citians who participated in the first Summer Job League, a Missouri workforce development program.

Spratt, 18, sent her summer answering phone calls at Children’s Mercy, helping patients start the scheduling process, and other administrative tasks.

“I actually want to get my bachelor’s in nursing, so it was a great opportunity to sit there and be able to work in a health care facility to be able to watch nurses,” Spratt says.

Spratt, who last summer had an internship at a nursing home, says she was glad she could see a full-spectrum of health care jobs. She thinks her summer at Children’s Mercy will help her as she pursues a degree at Truman State University, where she’s a freshman this semester.

Low-income Missourians ages 16 to 24 in Kansas City and St. Louis were eligible to participate in the program, which connected them with jobs in high-tech and high-growth industries such as health care, financial services and biosciences.

“Through efforts like the Summer Job League, thousands of youth were able to explore careers and gain real-world work experience, while earning a paycheck,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement.

Funding for the program came from a surplus in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families budget, which Nixon's staff says can be attributed to improving economic conditions. The summer jobs paid up to $8 an hour for 240 hours of employment.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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