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Youth Rising recently received funds from the Oregon Department of Education, Office of Developmental Disabilities and Vocational Rehabilitation to provide 20 part-time positions for teens and young adults with physical, developmental or other disabilities, those living in poverty, as well as homeless youth, or individuals with other barriers to employment.

The new summer jobs program will be operated in partnership with Klamath Falls City School district and will offer youth and teens ages 16 to 21 an opportunity to work in a part-time position with a local business for eight-weeks this summer. The “YouthForce” program launched July 3, with an orientation for drop-in participants and those pre-screened by the district.

“We’re honored to be selected for this youth jobs program funding opportunity from the state of Oregon,” said Tasha Locks, founder and executive director of Youth Rising. “While YouthForce positions might be a first job for many young people, we also have a lot of irons in the fire developing behind the scenes with other local entities to offer ongoing employment, apprenticeship, and tradeskills opportunities for youth and young adults in the near future.”

YouthForce will be youth-led and youth-driven, as Youth Rising has also hired three youth leaders that have already contributed nearly 1,000 combined volunteer hours to Youth Rising over the past few years. These youth leaders will help to coordinate YouthForce and remain involved behind the scenes throughout the program.

Youth Rising is recruiting local businesses, organizations and retail locations in Klamath County to host young people in one of the 20 part-time positions. For more information about this, contact Britt Clark, Drop-In Center program director via email at or visit

Now that sufficient youth candidates are recruited, Youth Rising will begin basic workforce training on a variety of topics and skills — such as workplace attire and expectations, customer service, appropriate conduct, plus labor rights and regulations. These sessions will help prepare YouthForce candidates with limited job experience, and all program participants will be assigned to a peer-support advocate at the Drop-In Center to discuss any workplace difficulties, plus emotions, life experiences, or potential challenges.