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Local News

Joliet youth jobs program headed for council approval

JOLIET – A proposed summer jobs program that would put 10 young people to work cutting grass is expected to go to the Joliet City Council for approval in December.

Councilwoman Bettye Gavin said the program will not cost the city money since a company that now contracts with Joliet for lawn mowing services will be converting to the youth jobs program.

However, the cost of the contract has not been finalized.

Under the proposal that has come out of the City Council Diversity & Community Relations Committee, which Gavin chairs, the city would contract with Redeemed Connection Ministries in Joliet for the program.

Redeemed Connection Ministries is headed by the Rev. Adrian Heath, an associate minister at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Joliet who also owns A & R Lawn Service, which has contracted in past years with the city to cut grass.

Heath said the final cost of the contract with Redeemed Connection Ministries has not been settled.

But he plans to recruit 10 young people who would go through a training program in March and be ready to go to work in the spring. They will be paid a stipend while in training, he said.

“We plan to hire a group ready to work when the season begins in April or May,” Heath said.

Gavin said she expects the program to go to the council for approval at its Dec. 15 meeting.

Youth employment was an issue in the 2015 election campaign in Gavin’s Fourth District, which includes low-income neighborhoods.

Gavin said the proposed program with Redeemed Connection Ministries is a start for city-based youth employment that she hopes can be expanded.

“The city will take a look in a year to see if [Heath] has hit all the benchmarks,” she said. “If he has, then we will look to expand the program a bit.”

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