Kenosha County’s Summer Youth Employment Program completed its 15th season recently, coming to an official close with the Oct. 4 dedication of two murals that were created by student workers.
In this year’s program, 129 at-risk youth worked an average of 22 hours per week for eight weeks, earning $9 per hour.
The program is conducted in a partnership between Kenosha County, the Kenosha Unified School District, the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha, Community Impact Programs and participating worksites.
Participants, ages 14-21, are referred by social workers, counselors or other professionals. Kenosha Unified students may earn a half credit toward their high school graduation; 85 youth in this year’s program did so.
“This program provides a paycheck for these youth, but, moreover, it teaches work skills and life skills that will stay with them throughout their lives,” said Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman.
Among the program’s worksites is Kenosha County Parks, where workers this year completed tasks such as weeding, trail maintenance and painting playground equipment.
Some of the younger workers participated in the Youth Employment in the Arts initiative, which generated the two murals that were revealed Wednesday during a ceremony at the Kenosha County Job Center.
One of them — an abstract piece titled “In My Mind” — will hang permanently in the Professional Services Group office at 4623 75th St. The other, which showcases landmarks from across Kenosha County, will be on display opposite a similar piece in the lobby of the County Center at highways 45 and 50.
Several other murals from past years’ programs are on public display in the corridors of the Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road.