OHIO VALLEY — Teenagers from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Summer Youth Program at the Gallia Department of Job and Family Services learned about the river economy and possible careers at the “Who Works the River JR” event on Thursday.
Over 20 kids from the program participated and toured the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center, received deckhand training from American Electric Power (AEP) River Operations, and saw the inner workings of Amherst Madison’s M.V. Charleston towboat.
The day started with a full tour of the river museum giving students the chance to learn about river history, economy, and what the industry is about. They also were allowed to use the watercraft simulators, steering barges upriver from a captains point of view. After lunch the youth walked down to Point Pleasant Riverfront Park where Butch Leport and Bob Baldwin from AEP River Operations taught them how to throw a tow line (large, two-inch diameter braided rope) and about various rigging equipment – a necessary component in towing barges.
The other group went with the crew of the M.V. Charleston and learned about the detailed workings of life on the river, and how the vessel works. Inside the towboat are living quarters, a captain’s deck (wheelhouse) where the boat is controlled, and a large area for the engines which power the operation and push the barges upriver.
TANF is a program during the summer months that is developed in part with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Gallia-Meigs Community Action.
“They (teens) get to earn some money, learn what a job is like, and learn more about a career for the future,” George Arnott of Community Action said.
The program gives students the chance to work during the summer months, provide them with some income for their work, and make available educational opportunities like this to help them better prepare for the future.
“We’re glad for the opportunity to do this. Its a great chance for the youth,” Robert Ray, from the Gallia County DJFS office said.
Throughout the summer, the students will get to visit various businesses in the area and work to earn an income.
To learn more about this program, and others like it, visit the DJFS office at 848 Third Avenue in Gallipolis.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.