Bedford County organizations team up to focus on youth

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Several Bedford organizations are working together to expand youth services across the county. Monday, they created a new job position specifically for that purpose.

The position is called "Youth Career Navigator". This is an ongoing effort to combine resources in Bedford County. Bedford County Public Schools, Bedford County Department of Social Services, Region 2000 Workforce Development Board and Adult Education of Central Virginia signed into a Memorandum of Understanding to support the Youth Career Navigator position.

The organizations named as well as resource partners such as Virginia Division of Rehabilitative Services, Horizon Behavioral Health and Human Kind will be forming the Bedford Youth Talent Development Team.

“We're trying to build a more seamless system so that our young people do not fall through the cracks,” said Ben Bowman, Director of Region 2000 Workforce Development. “But I think this does move us in the right direction towards giving the young people a better more effective foundation.”

The focus will be for people ages 14-24. Leaders are hoping to give a multi-faceted approach to youth needs in the community by combining the various services. For example, Workforce Development can help with job placement, Social Services may assist with housing or transportation for youth, and Adult Education can offer GED preparation to individuals.

Whoever is hired for the navigator position will have access to the schools and be able to provide hands-on personal assistance to the students, connecting them to the plethora of resources involved.

The total budget for the position, including benefits, is $60,000. Region 2000 Workforce Development Board will pay for $30,000, BCPS and DSS will pay $15,000 each.

The Youth Career Navigator position is open and posted online.