Students in Alabama now have another resource to utilize in their efforts to graduate from high school and earn their diplomas.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) and Alabama Department of Education have partnered to start the Student Subsidized Employment Program (SSEP). This new program has been created to assist students with finding employment opportunities in their communities. Its primary goal is to bring employers together with job-seeking high school students, of which many need work experience to fulfill their graduation requirements.
All students that participate in a Cooperative Education (co-op) program (statewide) and who also meet SSEP’s other requirements, are eligible. To qualify, students must be:
- Between the ages of 16 and 20, and enrolled in an Alabama high school.
- Living with a parent or caretaker relative.
- Participating in a school co-op program.
- Living in a family whose total income is less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
Businesses and employers participating in SSEP will be reimbursed 100 percent of the hired student’s gross wages - including the student’s mandatory withholdings and applicable taxes.
"Alabama’s new Student Subsidized Employment Program is a wonderful resource, which will help our youth prepare for their futures", said Department of Human Resources Commissioner Nancy Buckner. "One of the primary goals of this program is to strengthen the connection between the business community and our future workforce."
More than 13,000 students statewide participated in a co-op program last year. In our state, cooperative education is a part of Alabama’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum. It combines classroom instruction with supervised work experience, to help students develop their overall career skills and academic knowledge. Content is planned for students through a cooperative arrangement between their schools and employers.
The only costs that employers participating in SSEP will have to pay are their organization’s regular taxes, workman’s comp if required, and FICA obligations. Federal stimulus funds, provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are being used to pay for this program.
"This is really a great opportunity - a win-win situation - for Alabama’s students, teachers, and businesses", said State Superintendent Joe Morton. "To ensure that our students are prepared for their futures, we must remain resourceful, become more innovative, and be more willing to create new partnerships. In my opinion, the Student Subsidized Employment Program demonstrates exactly what we can accomplish when everyone works together to create additional opportunities for our students to achieve their academic and career goals."
Approximately 500 student salary reimbursements will be available for participating employers. This program will end this year on September 30.