GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – A program launched in 2021 to help teenagers in Guilford County find summer employment is returning for a second year.

The Greensboro Police Department announced Thursday that one of Chief Brian James’ pet projects – the Summer Youth Employment Initiative – again will provide opportunities for 500 county residents between ages 14 and 21.

Greensboro Police Chief Brian James

James launched the program in an effort to deter crime and keep young people from wandering down a bad path by providing 8 weeks of personal training and employment.

“When we invest in our youth, it improves the quality of life for our city, our neighborhoods and our families,” James said in the release.

The program is assisted by partners NCWorks-NextGen, Guilford County Schools, Cone Health, Ralph Lauren, Food Lion, McDonald’s and Koury Convention Center, and more companies are being sought to provide summer jobs and internships through www.500JobsGSO.org.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported that in 2020, the last data available, there were 18.08 delinquency complaints for every 1,000 kids in the state. That figure had declined every year between 2010 and 2019 and then rose dramatically in 2020 because of the change in state law to include 16- and 17-year-olds. About 1 in 3 of those 30,185 complaints were adjudicated by the courts (approved, diverted or closed).

Crime data collected by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that the crime victimization rate is highest for people between the ages of 12 and 24, with a rate of roughly 65 per 1,000 households.

Tifanie Rudd is returning to lead a group of volunteers and city employees, the release said, and she said the program is looking to build on a first year that she deemed a success.

Participants in the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Initiative, the program’s first year. (500JOBSGSO.ORG)

“We changed a lot of lives last summer and are grateful for the support the 500 Jobs initiative received from all of our sponsors and partners,” Rudd said in the release. “We are still seeking companies and organizations and individuals to make this happen.”

She said that she is working with Guilford Technical and Community College to help provide training for attendees that could align with the needs of Toyota, Boom Supersonic and auto manufacturer VinFast, which will bring about 10,000 new jobs to the region in the next few years.

She cited, specifically, aviation, health care and automotive repair among specific employment categories. There would be other more general training, too.

Two summer job career fairs for young adults will provide more information about the program. The first will be at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 30 at Windsor Community Center, which is at 1601 E. Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro.

Employers who would like to hire one of these young people are asked to visit the employers’ portal at 500JobsGSO or to contact Rudd at t_rudd@500jobsgso.org  or  336-988-2437.