TES Hope Initiative program to gain funding increase
By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Peyton Newman
Tuscaloosa City Council’s Financial Committee approved an increase in funding for Temporary Emergency Service’s Hope Initiative Summer Jobs Program. The matter will go before the full city council for a vote at next week’s meeting.
The program helps Tuscaloosa youth gain experiences for the workforce, as well as other skills that will help participants thrive in life by employing them in local nonprofits. Participants receive a $13 an hour salary for their work. The program takes it a step further by educating students on banking skills, providing transportation to jobs when necessary, helping students with work attire, and tutoring for schoolwork.
Dr. Karen Thompson Jackson, Executive Director of TES, said this program is so crucial for the community. “And so by having a program like this, we’re able to invest additional time, work with them one-on-one, to help them work through what is it that I really wanna do? What is it that I’m good at?” Jackson said. “And then, helping them to overcome some of the barriers they have. Sometimes transportation can be a barrier, sometimes just clothing, work dress attire, is a barrier.” The program began with a $100,000 grant. T.E.S is requesting an addition $24,000 due to an increase in students involved. The additional grant would allow the program to continue paying the students for their work.
District 1 Tuscaloosa City Councilor Matthew Wilson said funding for the program is beneficial to the city. “It shows that our city wants to do, what we need to do to decrease youthful crime, to give an alternative of positivity within our community to help the young people become self-sufficient and to grow into productive Tuscaloosians, hopefully,” Wilson said.