Grant providing summer job opportunities in three Arkansas counties

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Summer job opportunities for those 16 to 21-year-old are coming to three counties in Arkansas.

Private sector businesses and industry are expected to provide entry-level jobs in a program that many believe is sorely needed.

Sixteen-year-old Ernest House works at the Forrest City Water Department. He knows first-hand the value of having a "paying" job at an early age.

"It taught me how to budget. It drove me to open a bank account. It just prepared me for the future," he said.

House was hired through a job program in Forrest City, Arkansas, and he's glad to know that job opportunities will soon be available to others in the area.

"It's going to be a tremendous benefit for out entire region."

Those jobs will be coming from the East Arkansas Regional Summer Youth Initiative.

Forrest City Mayor Cedric Williams announced the program Tuesday. It's funded through a $300,000 state grant, and it's finding employment for 70 workers ages 16 to 21.

"We have local businesses from HVAC companies to local municipalities within our fire department, water department and administrative types of jobs," Mayor Cedric Williams said.

The initiative, the first of it's kind for the Delta Region of Arkansas, will place workers in St. Francis, Lee and Monroe Counties.

Employees will work Monday through Friday and will make $9.50 an hour. They could end up at the Forrest City Fire Department working a clerical job.

Community leaders hope the success of this year's program will mean more job openings next summer.

Applications can be made at the mayor's office in St. Francis, Lee and Monroe Counties, but the deadline is Friday.

If you need further information you can contact the Forrest City Mayor's Office at (870)-633-1315.

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