The Pierce County Council this week unanimously approved a new jobs initiative that will provide employment opportunities to youths ages 16 to 25.

The program is a partnership between the county and WorkForce Central and will receive $500,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds.

“This program serves two purposes,” said Councilmember Derek Young, who initially proposed the initiative, in a county press release. “It helps get money into the pockets of families that are struggling right now in this COVID environment, while also providing Pierce County youth the opportunity to connect with future career opportunities.”

According to the county press release, the council dedicated an additional $250,000 in CARES Act monies for school districts with existing Career and Technical Education programs. The funds are designated for eligible districts seeking to help connect students to a variety of career opportunities in the county.

Participants between 16 and 17 years old will get a minimum wage of $13.50 an hour while those between 18 to 25 years old will get $15.

The next step for Pierce County’s Economic Development Department is executing contracts with WorkForce Central and local school districts, per the release.