Teen Jobs Getting Cut Amid State Budget Crisis
The state of Connecticut has so far failed to approve a budget for the 2017–2018 fiscal year, which has put statewide summer job programs for teens on hold.
State officials are worried that government agencies may have to operate on a month-by-month contingency budget for the next fiscal year in the absence of a complete budget. So far, there has been no indication that the state-funded teen jobs program could become a part of the contingency budget.
According to Kelly Donnelly, spokesperson for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, it is too early to say which programs will be funded for the next fiscal year. Contrary to Donnelly’s claim, however, officials running the summer jobs programs in Danbury and Bridgeport have already been informed that their programs will not be receiving any funds under the contingency budget.
In fact, 38 students who were hired for the summer in Danbury have also been notified that they will no longer have their jobs.
According to the Program Director of Danbury Youth Services, Joseph Dobbins, who oversees the state-run program in Danbury, the summer job program provides more than just experience to the students. He says that students rely on summer jobs to save for college tuition or to buy books and clothes for the fall semester. He has heard concerns that, in the absence of the program, the affected students will end up hanging out on the streets if they aren’t working.
There is now very slim chance of the job program surviving through the coming fiscal year. The budget is usually approved by mid-July. By that time, however, a significant amount of the period for summer jobs will be over. Consequently, students who were hoping to work in the summer will be left unemployed.
In summer of 2013, the summer jobs program employed more than 5,000 students aged between 16 and 24. Last year, the program, which is run through the Department of Labor, had a state budget of $5.2 million, which was, in some cases, supplemented by funds from other sources.
The state of Connecticut, which has a budget deadline of June 30, is currently dealing with a projected $2.3-billion deficit for fiscal-year 2017–2018.
“State budget impasse endangers teen jobs program,” Connecticut Post, June 19, 2017.