Stimulus Creates Jobs for Teens – Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Stimulus creates jobs for teens

Kelsie Deshner was feeling the sun’s heat as she carried rotten wooden posts and rails from a Bozeman city park fence that she and other teenagers were repairing.

ERIK PETERSEN/CHRONICLE Taylor Willan, 15, left, and volunteer Chris Murphy work to set a fence post at the
East Gallatin Recreation Area Monday morning.

The 17-year-old Belgrade girl is one of about 700 teens across Montana who have jobs this summer, thanks to more than $2 million in federal economic stimulus money.

“I think it’s cool,” Deshner said. “They, like, teach us new stuff and give us job experiences. You get to be outside all day in the nice, fresh air, work on your tan. And you get to do some cool things for the community.”
It has been eight years since Bozeman’s nonprofit Human Resource Development Council had money for a summer teen jobs program, said Stephanie Gray, HRDC youth development director.
HRDC n which runs the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Head Start, Galavan and Streamline buses — received $180,000 in stimulus money, enough to hire about 50 young people in Gallatin, Park and Meagher counties for about 10 weeks.

“It’s important because in past summers it was pretty easy to get a job,” Gray said.

But with the current recession, finding a job has become tougher for everyone who’s unemployed, and perhaps toughest of all for these teens.
To be eligible, the young people had to be age 14 to 24, come from a low-income home and face certain barriers to getting a job. Some are dropouts, foster kids or teenage parents. Some have disabilities, and some have been in trouble with the law.
“A lot of people don’t want to hire us,” Deshner said, explaining she’s still paying off some fines. “We’re all pretty good people. Just nobody wants to give us a chance. HRDC is giving us a chance.”
The summer jobs program teaches kids basic job skills about how to be good employees, and gives them money to spend, Gray said. Though the pay only amounts to minimum wage, it helps teens who need to pay rent, help out their families, buy clothes for school or cover car insurance.
Taylor Willan, 15, digging post holes with help from volunteer Chris Murphy, 30, said he hopes HRDC has the jobs program next summer, too.
“I think it’s good n it helps kids my age get a job,” Willan said.
Willan was one of a half-dozen teens on “the green team,” which was working under the supervision of Julee Shamhart, a crew leader with the Montana Conservation Corps.
Three days a week, the green team works for the Bozeman city park and recreation department fixing the rotten fence at the East Gallatin Recreation Area, repairing trails, lopping brush or fixing up baseball fields.
One day a week, the team works on community projects, like helping out at the Food Bank or Children’s Museum.
Other local teens have summer jobs through the program at the American Red Cross office, a doctor’s office, mechanic’s shop and the Museum of the Rockies, Gray said.
Thom White, city parks and cemetery supervisor, said he never has enough people to do all the work that needs doing, like repairing the neglected fence.
Having the summer job program, White said, is “a perfect opportunity to fix it to standard.”
“It teaches you good work ethics,” said green team member Maurice Mclellan, 16, who was working with Jordan Mantzey, 15, on the fence.
“It teaches you what it’s like to have a job n something you’ll be doing the rest of your life,” Mclellan said. “You can’t get anywhere in life without working.”

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Brooke Poole

Public Sector

Since 2015, Brooke has been working with Allergan Aesthetics, Body Contouring. In 2018, Brooke began her role as Senior Manager of Training. Brooke graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Commercial Photography from Appalachian State University in 2011.

Brooke began her role on our Board in 2019. However, she feels it’s more fitting to say that she gets to serve on our Board. For Brooke, an evening at our Fork & Spoon was her first glance into our organization’s powerful work. As Brooke states, joining the Board has only expanded her appreciation for the caliber of people leading our mission and the impact of our vast ecosystem of services. While metrics alone are impressive, Brooke likes to visualize each number as an individual example of support – an extension of a helping hand, a moment of relief – given to one of our neighbors. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in shaping HRDC’s future.

Although Brooke spends most of her volunteer time with HRDC, she was fortunate enough to build with Habitat for Humanity over the course of the summer in 2020. Her favorite place to spend time is anywhere under the Big Sky, although Hyalite may be her favorite place on Earth.

Ron Brey

Public Sector

Ron served as Bozeman’s Assistant City Manager from 1990 to 2008. After retiring, Ron joined our Board in 2011. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Montana in 1977, and his Masters in Science in Rural, Town, and Regional Planning from the University of Montana in 1987.

During his time with the City of Bozeman, Ron saw the important role that HRDC has played in our community. Ron has seen that HRDC provides necessary social services to assure that all Bozeman residents could obtain housing, food, training, employment and the other necessities of life. He also came to understand that HRDC was always able to respond immediately as new community needs arose. Ron believes that the dedication, hard work, and compassion of HRDC’s staff make it a real honor to serve on the Board.

Ron also serves on the Trails, Open Space and Parks Committee for the City of Bozeman, and as a volunteer with the Red Cross. One of Ron’s favorite activities is walking his beloved dog every day, enjoying many of Bozeman’s trails and parks, like Burke Park, Bozeman Creek, and the Hyalite and Mount Ellis areas. Ron and his wife Claire enjoy spending their days with family, friends, and time outdoors.