CONTACT: Erin VanSickle, Volunteer Florida:
Jessica Sims, Department of Economic Opportunity:

Service project aims to help at-risk youth in Florida prepare for and enter the workforce

Tallahassee — Volunteer Florida (VF) and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced today a partnership that will assist young Floridians with current and future job placement through the AmeriCorps CareerSource Florida Youth Services project. Through the partnership, Volunteer Florida’s AmeriCorps members will provide at-risk youth with job skill development services in counties served by five regional workforce boards across the state.

“We have set the bar high,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman. “By the end of the first year, AmeriCorps CareerSource Florida Youth Services members will provide job training and job skill development services to 1,150 economically-disadvantaged, at-risk youth.”

Participating regional workforce boards include CareerSource Northeast Florida, serving St. Johns, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Baker, and Putman counties; CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, serving Citrus, Levy, and Marion counties; CareerSource Flagler Volusia, serving Flagler and Volusia counties; CareerSource Pinellas, serving Pinellas County; and CareerSource Tampa Bay, serving Hillsborough County. Twenty-one AmeriCorps members will be recruited by these regional workforce boards to provide workforce services, such as career exploration and guidance, employer engagement, and follow-up services, to out-of-school and at-risk youth ages 14 to 21.

“As Florida’s economy continues its remarkable recovery, it is important to recognize what job growth is really about—changing people’s lives one opportunity at a time,” said Jesse Panuccio, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director. “We look forward to working with Volunteer Florida and the regional workforce boards to help develop job skills and increase job placement for at-risk youth. This program will help Florida’s at-risk youth learn workplace skills and the fundamental value of work. It will help participants start on the pathway to prosperity.”

In partnership with the local boards, VF and DEO plan to provide services to at least 1,150 youth and guide at least 950 individuals through successful completion of the program. It is anticipated that at least 400 participating youth will be placed into jobs. DEO will also recruit Opportunity Youth—unemployed young people who seek to participate in national service—for the project, with a goal of gaining employment during their service term.

“This partnership with Volunteer Florida provides the CareerSource Florida network an invaluable opportunity to introduce young people to the many education and training resources available through their local career center and help connect them with meaningful employment,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV.

Volunteer Florida grants funds to educational foundations, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations to administer high-impact AmeriCorps and National Service Programs. This year, Volunteer Florida’s portfolio includes 31 Florida AmeriCorps programs, funded by $8.8 million in federal grants and $7.6 million in local matching funds. The AmeriCorps CareerSource Florida Youth Services project is made possible by a Volunteer Florida grant and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity providing matching funds for a total of approximately $400,000 to support the 21 AmeriCorps members.

About Volunteer Florida
Volunteer Florida is the Governor’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida. Volunteer Florida grants funds to educational foundations, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations to administer AmeriCorps and National Service Programs. Volunteer Florida leads Florida’s national days of service, including September 11 and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. During disasters, Volunteer Florida is the lead agency for volunteers and donations. For more information, visit:

About DEO
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit

About CareerSource Florida
CareerSource Florida is the statewide workforce policy and investment board of business and government leaders charged with overseeing the CareerSource Florida network, which includes the Department of Economic Opportunity, 24 regional workforce boards and nearly 100 career centers. CareerSource Florida connects employers with qualified, skilled talent and Floridians with employment and career development opportunities to achieve economic prosperity. Learn more at or 1-866-352-2345.

The Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, and Volunteer Florida are equal opportunity employers. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. The voice telephone numbers in this document may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. Disponible en Espanol.