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Omaha job program works to keep kids occupied in summer

Feb 17, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A partnership between the city of Omaha and the Empowerment Network hopes to have jobs for a record number of teenagers this summer to teach life and employment skills.

The 2017 kick-off for the program, known as Step-Up Omaha, was held Wednesday morning. Step-Up aims to pair 14- to 21-year-olds with community businesses to provide summer jobs, vocational education, career exploration opportunities and internships so kids utilize their summers and stay out of trouble.

Program Director Jami Anders-Kemp says Step-Up helped nearly 470 young adults secure summer jobs or training in 2016. This year, the eight-week program hopes to help 600 kids.

Summer crime rates have decreased since the program started in 2008, and the city is noticing.

Mayor Jean Stothert is pledging to double the program's funding for next year to $1 million.

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