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Empower Program offers training, guidance for young adults in Merced County

Junior Eric Favela, left, and sophomore Joel Rojas practice welding techniques as part of the FFA program at Atwater High School in February.
Junior Eric Favela, left, and sophomore Joel Rojas practice welding techniques as part of the FFA program at Atwater High School in February. Merced Sun-Star file

If you’re a young adult, out of high school and unsure of what your next step in life will be, the Empower Program could provide some guidance.

The program offers paid and unpaid work experience, assistance with General Education Development fees, vocational training and mentoring. It’s designed for “out-of-school youth,” or adults ages 18 to 24.

Participants will work one on one with career advisers to develop plans to best address the young adults’ needs, whether that be first obtaining a driver’s license or seeking child care before starting job training.

The Empower Program, which has room for and is accepting more participants, will hold orientation sessions next week.

To qualify, one must be 18 to 24 and not enrolled in school. To join Empower, participants must have proof of citizenship and photo identification.

Other factors apply on the qualifications for the Empower Program, including those who have been through the justice system, someone with a disability and more. Those who have dropped out of high school, are enrolled at Merced Adult School working on a high school diploma or a GED, or have a valid high school diploma do qualify.

Enrollees must attend an orientation session. Two sessions will be held Jan. 6, one from 9 a.m. to noon and another from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Wolfe Education Center, 732 W. 13th St. in Merced.

To reserve a seat at the orientation, call 209-381-5926 or 209-381-5923.

For more information on the Empower Program, contact Toula Eccles at 209-381-5923 or tmoua@mcoe.org, or Rebecca Lincoln at 209-381-5916 or rlincoln@mcoe.org.

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