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Jobs program underway in effort to reduce gun violence

An effort announced earlier this summer to try and reduce gun violence in cities like Rochester is entering the next phase — providing hundreds of job opportunities for young adults.

The state-funded Gun Violence Prevention Initiative, first announced a few months ago, is tapping Rochester Works, the local nonprofit provider of workforce and career services, to launch a $2.25 million initiative with a goal of creating 450 permanent job placements for at-risk youth.

Dave Seeley, executive director of Rochester Works, said this program is needed to help provide assistance in areas like transportation, childcare, clothing and other services for job seekers.

“The simple thing is to say the jobs are there, people should take them,” said Seeley. “If it was as simple as that, all the unfilled jobs would currently be filled. We need to look to intervene on these certain realities that people are facing in their lives and that can be done. Those programs and those support services are there.”

Rochester Works will be reaching out to a variety of community-based neighborhood organizations, that are already working with area young people, to help connect those youths with this training and other employment services 

Seeley said the agency is trying to cut through some of the red tape that local community organizations sometimes face when they want to take advantage of these types of programs.

“What we've tried to do is relax some of those requirements to broaden our reach, and our network of partners. Some of the smaller community-based neighborhood organizations that are already doing really great work, and engaging with youth, our goal is to include them in this effort as well,” said Seeley.

Applications from community organizations that would like to help implement the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative are being accepted by Rochester Works beginning on Oct. 7.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.