FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The streets of Fresno will be a little more friendly thanks to a new job program aimed at helping youth from under-served populations.
You may see new, friendly faces around downtown Fresno's special events, conventions, or even Fresno Grizzlies baseball games.
As a part of the One Fresno Youth Jobs Corp Initiative, Mayor Jerry Dyer announced the launch of the Youth Ambassador Program on Tuesday, providing these young people the opportunity for employment and a sense of purpose.
"When they come downtown, we want them to know that it is clean, it is vibrant, and it is safe. This program helps push forward our vision for a great downtown - while also creating opportunities for our youth," Dyer said.
Fresno received a $7.4 Million dollar grant from the state. Right now, more than 140 interns are employed with the city, and so far, 20 ambassadors have been hired, eight of whom come from the foster system.
The goal of the One Fresno Youth Jobs Corps is to provide interns with wrap-around services to help them succeed, including transportation, childcare, uniforms, emergency housing, vocational training, and life coaching.
During these special events like Opening Day -- they are expected to provide the public with directions to downtown businesses, government agencies, and venues.
They will also be collecting trash, removing graffiti, and emptying trash cans.
Susan Chudy with the Youth Jobs Corps works on the grants and helps young adults map out their career goals.
"Where do you see yourself going, many of them just say, 'Okay, this is just my job for today. But not maybe where I see myself in 5 years or 15 years," Chudy said.
We have a substantial amount of individuals who are transitioning from the foster system, and they need this gainful employment," said Chudy. "These individuals represent the most underserved, so it's our honor and privilege to walk alongside them and provide mentorship."
It's the first day on the job for Youth Ambassadors Lyndon Moultrie, Jr. and Breanna Baldwin.
Moultrie is currently a Communications student at Fresno State said it's not easy getting a job.
"Just give the Glory to God, I was just excited to be here. Honestly, it means a lot," Moultrie, Jr. said. "I have big dreams, big goals, big aspirations, so this is like a stepping stone for me."
Baldwin is also forward-thinking. Despite her life experiences, she hopes to gain a wider skillset to become an EMT and then an RN.
"My dad passed away in 2017 and I made a promise to him that I would be a nurse. I wanted to keep that promise and it's been my goal for my whole life as well."
These teams will concentrate their efforts along Fulton Street, the city's parking garages, and many other parts of downtown.
They will also work alongside the Downtown Fresno Partnership --- with the new President and CEO Elliot Balch.
After working on revitalizing downtown for nearly two decades, Balch is happy to see the city's investment.
"It's like having new blood coursing through the veins, it just feels like we are all a little bit younger today because we have this great presence of young people - who downtown has chosen them for a very important role, but they also chose downtown," Balch.
The state-funded workforce development program is also in 12 other cities in the state of California.
The pay range is between $17-$19 dollars per hour for internships, according to the City's website.
For a list of other youth jobs in the city, click here.
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