By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials, this week, awarded $6 million in contracts for a program to put at-risk youth to work.

It is the first piece of a citywide workforce development plan the Kenney administration has been working on for more than a year.

The program will provide training and employment for youth with autism, those aging out of foster care, coming out of the juvenile justice system, or graduates of the school district’s health care career program.

Many agencies already work with these groups, but Pat Clancy of the non-profit “Philadelphia Works” says funding for employment is often a missing piece.

“We want to make sure the individuals get targeted employment services: on the job training, work experiences,” he said.

The program uses state human service grants and local funding and will match career-seekers with the jobs that employers need to fill.

That’s also the model being worked out for a citywide program Mayor Kenney plans to unveil next month. He talks about it as another front of his war on poverty.

“If we attack all of those areas at the same time with the same effort and the same unified approach, we will change the poverty numbers in this city and that’s the most important thing that we can do,” said Kenney.

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