CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah juvenile justice system program provides job skills

Apr 1, 2024, 11:17 AM

Juvenile job skills bill signed by Gov Cox...

Gov. Spencer Cox signs SB 88 with pen made by juvenile. (Utah Dept. of Health and Human Services via X)

(Utah Dept. of Health and Human Services via X)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new program in the Utah juvenile justice system already appears to be making a big difference by teaching kids job skills they can apply in the real world.

Thanks to a bill signed into law last week, art, trade skills, and even college courses are being offered to youth in the Utah juvenile justice system. Furthermore, money earned for trade skills can be used by juveniles to pay off fines they have received.

Brett Peterson, the director of the Division of Juvenile Justice and Youth Services, explained the importance of the effort.

“Helping young people develop skills, they start to see themselves in a different light. So, that just personally and mentally and emotionally they’re in a better place. And also, in many of these cases it is something that will help them as they transition,” Peterson said.

Gov. Cox pen

Gov. Cox holds pen made by a youth in the juvenile justice system. (Utah Dept. of Health and Human Services)

Many students have transitioned into careers using the trade skills learned through this initiative.

“Job skills, and how do we help them be geared for that transition back to life where they can be a productive contributing member of their community?” said Peterson.

Gov. Spencer Cox signed the bill last week using a pen made by kids in the program.

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Utah juvenile justice system program provides job skills