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Businesses now have a $25 million incentive to hire and train at-risk or disadvantaged youth, thanks to the new youth tax credit signed into law by the governor and legislature early this December.

“In our current economic climate, it is very important that our young people have opportunities to gain valuable work experience to prepare for the future and, in many cases, provide for their families,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller.

The assembly’s legislation grants a tax break to companies in the clean energy, health care, advanced manufacturing and conservation fields that hire at-risk or disadvantaged youths between the ages of 16 and 24 during the first six months of 2012.

The companies will be eligible to receive up to $3,000 during the six-month training period for the new hires and could earn an extra $1,000 if they retain these new employees for an additional six months after the training has ended.

The tax credit program will be administered by the Department of Labor, with employment beginning before July 1, 2012.

Additionally, the state will provide $12 million in grants for critical job programs for inner-city youths. These grants will aid in youth-employment readiness training, occupational training, workplace mentoring and job placement. Participating youths will receive a $300 stipend per month to help with the costs faced when trying to enter the job market.

The legislation will also provide the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides summer employment and educational experiences that enable youth to acquire skills, earn an income and work toward meeting their occupational goals.

“It is vitally important that we take steps now to make sure that the future of our state is in good hands,” Miller said. “This new legislation will provide our young people with the proper job training to make sure that the future is bright.”

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