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J.A.M. (Jobs and Motivation)

Greensboro Public Library

Innovation Summary

The Greensboro Public Library has partnered with the Greensboro Office of Workforce Development to sponsor a summer jobs program for teens, ages 16-18, called J.A.M. -Jobs and Motivation. We are attempting to tackle high adult unemployment, and disrupt the cycle of poverty, though this jobs program for disadvantaged teens.

Problem Statement

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security’s labor market information, the adult unemployment rate for Guilford County, North Carolina, has risen from approximately 5%, in 2007, to 12 % in mid 2011, and now in early 2012, it stands at approximately 10%. If adult unemployment is this high in North Carolina, what are the chances that teen (16-18 year olds) summer unemployment rates are higher? According an article in Forbes.com, North Carolina currently ranks fifth in nationwide unemployment for teens, with a teen unemployment rate of 32.1%. North Carolina has a rate of 33.4%, for discouraged unemployed teens. Few programs exist to assist teens in developing their job seeking and job retention skills. Studies show high unemployment rates of individuals during their teen years often leads to these same individuals experiencing greater levels unemployment as adults. This is especially true for teens that are already in socio-economically disadvantaged households. Greensboro Public Library’s Job and Careers Services Department and Greensboro Office of Workforce Development (OWD/WIA) is aware of high unemployment in Guilford County’s underprivileged teen populations and are collaborating to sponsor a summer jobs program for teens, ages 16-18, called J.A.M. -Jobs and Motivation. We believe that if underprivileged teens are given the opportunity to learn constructive job skills, observe and imitate good on-the-job behaviors at an early age, this would lessen the likelihood of them becoming chronically unemployed adults. Through our joint efforts, we are attempting to tackle high rates of adult unemployment, and disrupt the cycle of poverty, though this jobs program, for disadvantaged teens. Teens who met certain criteria associated with a disadvantaged background, as defined by OWD/WIA and the Greensboro Public Library, as well as other decisive factors, will be chosen for the program.


The J.A.M. program includes two parts: The first part is a six workshops consisting of intensive classroom training on job related topics including hard and soft job skills. Hard skills workshop topics include: effective resume and cover letter writings; thorough job search skills; navigating job applications; elevator speeches and mastering interviewing techniques. The soft skills workshops will include: on-the-job work expectations; and conflict resolution skills. The six workshops will meet on Saturdays from April 12 through June 2, for two hours. The teen participants will be supplied with the materials required to take notes and carry out homework assignments. Homework will be given at the end of each workshop, and expected to be brought in, completed and ready to discuss at the next workshop. Successful completion of the 6 workshop program consists of: successful completion of homework assignments; meeting attendance requirements and meeting behavior requirements. Lunch will be provided for each participant at the conclusion of each workshop session. The second part of the program will consist a 200 hour summer part-time internship opportunity for each teen who successfully completed all requirements of the six week workshop. The costs associated with of the six week workshops, and intern’s salaries, as well as any other costs associated with the internships will be paid by OWD/WIA and the Friends of the Greensboro Public Library.


The Greensboro Public Library’s Job and Careers Services Department and OWD/WIA have solicited local city, county and state government offices and non-profit organizations to act as summer jobsites for the J.A.M interns. The interns will be paid $8 an hour and expected to complete 200 work hours, between June 18 and August 3. Each intern’s immediate supervisor and/or co-workers will provide on-the-job training and job skill modeling for their interns. It is a desired outcome of the J.A.M. program that each teen will gain positive on-the-job behaviors, increased confidence in their abilities and capacity to carry out daily professional tasks that they will encounter in the real world of work. As well, the program is aimed at teaching and demonstrating the importance of intrinsic motivation, beginning their exploration into future careers, becoming leaders and role models in their community with the ultimate goal of becoming successful, assured and positively assertive individuals, as future leaders in a global society. The J.A.M. participants may seek to pursue employment on their own after their summer internships are over. OWD/WIA will continue to place the J.A.M. participants in summer part-time internships until they turn 18 years old. When the J.A.M. participants graduate from high school, OWD/WIA, will pay for their cap and gown’s. As well, OWD/WIA will assist the J.A.M. participants with college scholarships.