New funding to help find jobs for at-risk Rochester youth caught in violence spike

Local News

"We're here to pick up the pieces"

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul Thursday convened a round table at the David Gantt center in Rochester. The topic was addressing the spike in gun violence in the city and finding positive opportunities for youth.

Hochul says New York State has seen a 95% increase in gun violence. She said ending that will take a holistic approach.

“State government cannot solve this alone. We need local partners. Who literally know the streets,” she says. Also those who know families with at-risk youth. Youngsters, Hochul says, are the ones most likely to turn to gangs and a cycle of violence.

“We can literally pinpoint where the crime is coming from,” using census data she says. In these areas she says are more than 1,000 young men over 18 who are deemed “at-risk” and on the edge.

“Bring them to us. Show them the jobs.” Thursday, she announced over $2 million in state funds for 181 short-term jobs and 450 long-term jobs for youth.

“And the types of jobs for summer are parks and recreation, summer camps, entry-level office jobs, working with private employers that we’re partnering with. Long-term, we want to get these young people trained. There are so many good jobs out there waiting, and I’m hearing from countless employers all over this region, whether it’s in building, construction, culinary, food service, health care, I-T, hospitality, tourism, cybersecurity, you name it, we have the jobs waiting here,” she says.

One organization for years has already pushing a similar agenda. The Boys and Girls Club here on Genesee Street says work is important for youngsters, especially in the summer. One focus here- Getting youth employed.

“We’re trying to get kids placed around the city in jobs. Some of its direct placement for 16 and ups, and then even 14 and 15-year-olds,” says Dwayne Mahoney, Boys and Girls Club.

Mahoney says the biggest thing is keeping youth busy so they don’t fall into bad habits. “A job gives people, especially kids, and even adults a value, a purpose,” he says.

Hochul saying work could be the way out of this disorder. “It doesn’t have to be this way. This is a fairly recent phenomenon,” she says.

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