Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Spring Resource Event for Youth

Next week, Wahkiakum County Health & Human Services will host a Spring community resource event. Doors will be open at 25 River St. Suite D (next door to PUD on the river side of the building) from 10am-3pm on May 16th . The event will feature many local and regional agencies who provide resources to Wahkiakum residents.

These resources range from youth to seniors, and include Housing and Energy Assistance Programs, Employment Services, Crime Victim Advocacy, Aging and Disability Services, Veteran Services, Parent and Family Support, Behavioral Health and SUD Services, Domestic Violence and Assault Services, WA State Health Plan Information, Youth Mentoring, Resources and Training for 16-24 year olds, Training and Education Services, and Public Health. Among the numerous organizations participating is the NEXT program. NEXT focuses on empowering young adults aged 16-24 in the SW Washington area by helping them finish their education, fast-track their careers, and help them overcome barriers to employment that many youth face. NEXT career coaches, like Kella Steele, work very closely with young adults toward their career goals, through education, training, and even paid internships. “We try to align the youth’s work experience with their identified career paths,” stated Kella. “If a youth is interested in animals, we try to align a work experience where they can gain professional experience working with animals. Of course, this might not always be possible, but the key is any work experience provides skills that can be used at future jobs and can be listed on a resume.”

Finding in-demand work in our community is only half the struggle of young people entering the workforce today. NEXT prepares them to work through obstacles by providing resources for transportation, housing, work clothing, mental health. “Living in a rural area,” Kella explained, “a youth obtaining their drivers license is a must. So depending on funding, youth may qualify for Next to assist in helping pay for their license.” Removing barriers helps pave the way for young people toward their career goals, but NEXT takes a step further and inspires youth to find their own drive. “They light up with excitement once they identify what they are passionate about, their ‘why’,” Kella commented. “Helping the youth identify their ‘why’ gives them this surge of motivation and drive to reach that thing they are passionate about. They get so excited and you can see their face go from feeling down to being filled with hope and purpose.” This sense of purpose benefits the community as well as the youth. “By providing the community with youth who have proper skills and work ethics,” Kella stated, “we are helping businesses thrive.” Cowlitz businesses, like Bob’s Sporting Goods, 105.5 KUKN, and the YMCA, have all participated in the NEXT program, and have even hired on interns. NEXT wants to make the same impact in Wahkiakum County. “If your business is interested in becoming a registered work site for NEXT, we can potentially offer to pay for the youth’s wages for a set amount of time, usually ranging from 100 to 180 hours per youth. This opportunity gives the business a chance to see if the candidate will be a good fit for the position before committing to hiring and gives the youth a chance to gain valuable work experience.”

Companies and young adults interested in learning more about the NEXT program can visit or contact Kella Steele at or by calling or texting (360) 890-7766.

Come learn about the NEXT program and other incredible resources in our community, at Wahkiakum County Health & Human Services’ next resource event, on May 16th from 10am-3pm.


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